21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. (Exodus 12:21-23 NIV)
God tells Moses, who then tells the Hebrews, how they are to mark this moment when death visits Egypt but they are spared. On that first night the “ritual” is real – every year thereafter it is a re-enacting, a memorial of what happened long ago.
Why must the people mark themselves, mark their homes, in this way? Does God not know who are Hebews? Does the God who had the power to inflict such plagues – and to show mercy and restraint as observed yesterday -really not know who are God’s and who are not?
Vs. 23 seems to make a distinction between “the Lord” who has judged and who is about to deliver and “the destroyer” who visits death upon Egypt but passes over the Hebrews.
I am far too economical – stingy – in my remembering of God’s deeds. Not only the great deeds of long ago but what God has done for me and in me and to me. I need to re-enact my own Passover, remembering and reappropriating that power, that grace, that love anew.
I also need to remember as a pastor that this public pronouncement of the Good News is vital to us. Not to God who knows whether we are grateful. Who knows what He has done. But I need reminding. And the retelling and the re-enacting also makes it new again. And bears witness to those who may not know, who might have forgotten, that God comes and does still today.
O Lord, you know all things – and you know when I am grateful. You know when I am full of faith and hope. You are all too aware when I love and sadly love not. But I need reminding. And I need in the retelling and reliving to share with others what you have done and still do. And, Lord, would you deepen my own faith and rebuild my own hope as I enact passovers daily that honor you and reveal to others what you have done and who you are. Amen.