Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
Yesterday marked the beginning of Passover for many all over the world. I love waking up to great pictures and facebook updates of people who had a lovely seder and could celebrate together. Passover is the time when our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the Exodus from Egypt and from slavery. The celebration is one of freedom and remembering ancestors. The celebration is over remembering. The seder meal lays out different elements to help the group remember different pieces of the story.
Passover is a time to remember that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us to create freedom…all sorts of freedom. It is also a time to celebrate what God has done for us in the midst of it all. Passover is a seven day holiday beginning with the meal. This also marks the time when people left so quickly that they did not have time for the bread to rise. At this time, our Jewish brothers and sisters need to clean out all of the rising agent from the house and turn to unleavened bread.
Last year I had the privilege of “buying” all of the leavened products for one dollar with the intent to sell it all back at the end of Passover from the local rabbi and my friend. He made up a contract, we both signed and I had access to his bread during this time because I technically owned it…although we left all leavened products in a box in their house. I was almost tempted to go over one day and pull out a piece for toast. 🙂
While I signed my contract and listened to prep for the season, I also realized that these stories are part of my story as well. While we celebrate the story a bit differently and this piece of the Passover season will signify other things, we can connect on the community and meaning of it all. We can connect on the holy time and the history shared…the story shared of where our people come from. This is what Jesus would have been doing at the time. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, preparing for Passover with unleavened bread and a place to eat and drink and to celebrate a life out of Egypt. It is no wonder that the next part of the story happens during this time. This time is when the community gathers and remembers over food and drink. The memories are ingrained and Jesus adds on to those memories to create a new story of exile, death, and new life.