Monday, January 16, 2017
“These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover. On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:11-13(NLT)
For Americans who think we invented everything, it is an appropriate comeuppance to know that six-thousand years before McDonald’s served it’s first hamburger, God gave the concept of fast food to Israel.
The seder, or Passover meal, is meant to be eaten by people ready to move-out quickly. That first meal was in preparation for Abraham’s nation to be saved from the last, and most devastating of plagues God brought on Pharaoah’s people for his pigheadedness in not freeing the Hebrew slaves. That last plague, death of the firstborn, was only separated between Jewish and Egyptian firstborn children by blood from the lamb which was eaten as a central part of that last meal in captivity. To this day God’s chosen nation celebrates this as an Independence Day, when God told them to keep their shoes, hats and walking sticks in hand; slavery was at an end, it was time to move out!
There is so much symbolism carried-over from Passover to the Christian celebration of the Lord’s Supper. We wouldn’t do justice to it to try to cram a list into this little space.
But, just consider the lamb’s blood for a moment. The instructions God gave included painting the door lintels of Israelites’ homes as a sign for the death angel to pass-over that residence (hence naming the event “Passover”). In the prophets, Gospels, and at least a dozen references in Revelation, God’s lamb plays a central role in our salvation as well as the condemnation of those who refuse to believe:
And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.
But what, if anything, does all this have to do with fast food? Why is it a meal of haste?
I’m so glad you asked.
As the Hebrew children were to be geared-up, locked-and-loaded to move out following their God’s lead into the wilderness, crossing Jordan, and on to the Promised Land, so New Israel, the church is to be ready to move.
As the bitter herbs remind Jews of the bitterness of bondage, so the Christian, released from spiritual bondage is to remember the cost of that freedom with a distaste for sin.
The haste-meal of Passover isn’t a camping place, it is a point of departure. When the Hebrew children left Egyptian bondage, they took with them what God provided, as God disciplined their former captors. However, as they moved out into the wilderness, they left Egypt behind. There were those who longed to go back, and the story of their fate is grist for another day. But it serves to remind us that our Christian haste-meal also represents departure from half-hearted following God. You cannot live with one foot in Egypt and the other in the wilderness; there must be a choice made.
The Hebrew nation had 400 years of slavery to drive them to the decision to eat a meal of haste – a drive thru fast food on the way out of town. They had to eat fast, because when God calls, everything else is secondary!
So, what does it mean in your life to leave Egypt behind? Got your shoes and hats on?