Friday, August 23, 2013

Mem Tsade Hey

Friday, August 22, 2013

I’ve used that plate for communion countless times since my daughter gave it to me.  I was aware it is a Seder dish, used in Jewish worship for centuries.  My Hebrew skills are somewhat lacking (and where not lacking, they’re covered in dust)!  I made the mistake of using the dish to conduct communion with a group of my preacher friends.  This group won’t let anything pass without checking it out!  My friend, Bill, took a picture of the dish with his phone-camera and later went to work on translating the Hebrew inscriptions.  He sent me an email with the following explanation of the three large letters in the center of the dish:
Hebrew:  reading backwards – from right to left Mem Tsade Hey.  My Hebrew Bible dictionary –short definition: squeeze out, drain; be drained out.  The longer definition from the OT is from Ezek 23:34 you will drink it and drain it dry (down to the very dregs).  This is in relation to the cup of wrath and the judgment of God!  In other words, the ire of Yahweh must be fully experienced and sin completely dealt with.  This is a great message for Holy Communion.  Sin must be completely dealt with – only the body and blood of Jesus!  
What an exquisite reminder – when we take the bread from the dish – Mem Tsade Hey, what is revealed is the cup of God’s wrath being drained, down to the very dregs; the body of Christ absorbing my penalty for sin.  The prophet Isaiah (53:5) tells us this:
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:  the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
I’ve had that dish for quite a few years now.  It has always been nearby in my study, and whenever I see it I remember my daughter’s gift.  I see the Hebrew writings and recall that I am connected to my Jewish brothers and sisters as we worship Jehovah, Almighty God.  But not knowing the meaning of the writings caused me to miss an even greater picture of the suffering of Jesus for me.  Predicted by the prophets, worked out in the passion of Christ and effective today for my salvation; it was all under my very nose and I thought it was a dish!
How like us – to have Christ so very present in the common moments, yet hidden by our nearsightedness.


As you’re going about what you’re going about today, why not keep your spiritual eyes open for sightings of Mem Tsade Hey?  He’s all around you!

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