Sunday, April 16, 2006

Exodus 12:1-14; Psalms 113, 114; John 1:1-18; Luke 24:13-35

Today’s Exodus reading is a prescription for commemorating the Passover as a “festival unto the Lord.” Clearly, this was a big deal – a time when life as usual came to a halt in order to celebrate properly God doing for Israel what they could not do for themselves. It was a time to remember God giving his people something unavailable to them in the world – namely, their freedom.

Easter is also meant to be a festival commemorating God’s action on behalf of his people. In the resurrection of Jesus we see the reward God promises all his children. This reward is not just a big promotion or more money or some fancy new toy. It’s a reward that transcends anything and everything we know in the natural world. It’s a supernatural reward, not available in any other way except by the grace and power of God.

And like Israel, our reward is also freedom – the freedom from sin and death which is made known in the alive and risen Jesus Christ. Ultimately this freedom means that we, too, will receive the gift of everlasting life. We, too, will come to live in the glorious, unbroken company of God.

That is what we celebrate at Easter – a gift of such immense magnitude that for this one day, at least, we let life as usual come to a halt. And in the joy of our worship, feasting, and fellowship, we remember just how great this gift is, this blessed expression of the enormity of God’s love for us. As John writes about Jesus:

16We all live off his generous bounty,

gift after gift after gift.

17We got the basics from Moses,

and then this exuberant giving and receiving,

This endless knowing and understanding –

all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.

18No one has ever seen God,

not so much as a glimpse.

This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,

who exists at the very heart of the Father,

has made him plain as day.

(John 1:16-18, The Message.)

Rob Merola

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