Archive for the ‘Exodus 12’ Category

Grace and Mutual Responsibility, Part I   1 comment


Above:  The Baptism of the Eunuch, by Rembrandt Van Rijn

(Image in the Public Domain)


The Collect:

Holy God, our strength and our redeemer,

by your Spirit hold us forever, that through your grace we may

worship you and faithfully serve you,

follow you and joyfully find you,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 22


The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 12:1-13, 21-28 (Monday)

Isaiah 53:1-12 (Tuesday)

Psalm 40:6-17 (both days)

Acts 8:26-40 (Monday)

Hebrews 10:1-4 (Tuesday)


Some Related Posts:

Exodus 12:

Acts 8:

Isaiah 53:

Hebrews 10:


O Lord my God,

great are the wonderful things you have done,

and the things you have in mind for us:

there is none to be compared with you.

I would proclaim them and speak of them:

but they are more than can be numbered.

–Psalm 40:6-7, A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989)


The laws of God which are written on hearts and minds are laws of grace, love, and responsibility for and to each other.  They are laws of love for and responsibility to God.  The essence of them is to love God fully and others as ourselves.  The rest is commentary–mostly culturally-specific commentary–examples (bound by time, space and circumstances) of universal principles.  Therefore to become so fixated on examples as to ignore or minimize the universal principles is to miss the point and fall into legalism.

This internalized covenant is for all people, not that everyone embraces it or will do so.  It is for Hebrews and Gentiles alike.  It is for those like us and those quite different from us.  It is as much as for Hebrews as it was for a confused Ethiopian eunuch who needed a good catechist.  Fortunately, God sent him one.

The reading from Exodus speaks of the Passover meal instructions and of the importance of blood in deliverance–the latter being a theme in other readings for these days.  In the case of the Passover, the blood protected the Hebrews not from their own sins, but those of Egyptians.  This is a point which one might overlook out of imagined familiarity with the text.  Anyhow, the metaphor of the Passover as applied to Jesus (perhaps most explicitly applied to Jesus in the Gospel of John, where he dies on Passover itself–is the sacrificial lamb) carries meaning beyond just saving us from ourselves–from our sins.

A traditional American hymn speaks of

What wondrous love


caused the Lord of bliss


lay aside his crown for my soul.

May we–you, O reader, and I–respond favorably to that grace with heart and mind engaged fully, giving neither short shrift.  May we understand correctly and act accordingly, helping others to whom God sends us and others whom God sends to us, to do likewise.  For we are all responsible to and for each other.






Adapted from this post:


Posted September 6, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Acts of the Apostles 8, Exodus 12, Hebrews 10, Isaiah 53, Psalm 40

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Numbers and Luke, Part II: In It Together   1 comment


Above:  The Unjust Steward


Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Numbers 9:1-23

Psalm 98 (Morning)

Psalms 66 and 116 (Evening)

Luke 16:1-18


Some Related Posts:

Luke 16:

Prayers for Cities, Neighborhoods, Communities, and Those Who Serve Them:


Biblical nuances interest me.  In Exodus 12 we read regarding the Passover meal:

No foreigner shall eat of it.

–verse 43a, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures


If a stranger, who dwells with you would offer the passover to the LORD, all his males must be circumcised; then he shall be as a citizen of the country.  But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.  There shall be one law for the citizen and for the stranger who dwells among you.

–verses 48-49, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Then, in Numbers 9,  observing the Passover meal (the first one in the wilderness) is mandatory (delayed for reasons of ritual impurity).  Then we read:

And when a stranger who resides with you would offer a passover sacrifice to the LORD, he must offer it in accordance with the rules and rites of the passover sacrifice.  There shall be one law for you, whether stranger or citizen of the country.

–verse 14, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Unfortunately, there was a death penalty attached to not obeying the mandate.  This is the Law of Moses, after all; there is a death penalty attached to many offenses.  On the other hand, however, resident aliens (as opposed to mere strangers) were equally subject with Israelites to the Law.  And why not?  The Israelites and the resident aliens were, as we say in North America,

in it together.

We humans are all

in it together,

are we not?  We do not have to like each other, socialize together, understand each other, or be similar to each other, but we must understand that what one person does affects others.  One main fault of extreme libertarianism is its excessive individualism, its failure to give due weight to mutual dependence, the actual state of the human race.  Sometimes I need to curtail my appetites for the benefit of others.  Yet the collective has no right practice the tyranny of the majority or of the vocal, screaming, hysterical, minority which might control some part of state machinery.  The individual and the collective need to exist in balance:  rights and liberties, in the light of natural law and the fact that the dissident might be correct, at least partially.  Mutual respect goes a long way toward preventing violations of civil liberties and rights.

The unjust steward of the parable knew that he needed others immediately and urgently.  So, for selfish reasons, he brought his master into compliance with the anti-usury parts of the Law of Moses.  His reasons did not matter to those he helped.  Money was a means to several ends, some of them righteous in spite of the person’s motivation.  And money was crucial to being able to afford a style of piety which Jesus condemned.  Poverty, Jesus said, ought not to mark one as incapable of living faithfully.  And those poor people (many of them, anyway) financed the lifestyles of the rich and overtly pious.  How just was that?

When Christ comes to be our judge, may he rule that we acted consistently to raise each other up, to bind up each other’s wounds, to bear each other’s  burdens as able and always and to avoid stomping on each other.  We do, after all, need each other, even if we do not know that fact.






Adapted from this post:


Exodus and Hebrews, Part VI: Remembering This Day   1 comment


Above:  An Eastern Orthodox Crucifix


Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 12:29-32; 13:1-16

Psalm 22 (Morning)

Psalms 107 and 130 (Evening)

Hebrews 6:1-20


Some Related Posts:

Exodus 12:

Hebrews 6:


Grant, Lord Jesus, That My Healing:

To Mock Your Reign, O Dearest Lord:

Throned Upon the Awful Tree:

How Can I Thank You?:

O Christ, Who Called the Twelve:

How Wide the Love of Christ:

Beneath the Cross of Jesus:

Darkly Rose the Guilty Morning:

O Jesus, We Adore Thee:

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded:

Stabat Mater:

Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended:

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross:

My Song is Love Unknown:

In the Cross of Christ I Glory:

Hymn of Promise:

O Jesus, Youth of Nazareth:

For the Cross:

O Blessed Mother:


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

and are so far from my cry

and from the words of my distress?

–Psalm 22:1, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)


Remember this day….

–Exodus 13:3b, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures


Today, in the Book of Exodus, we read instructions immediately prior to the title event of that text.  Among them is to remember that day, to speak of it to one’s children.  History tells us of many Passover feasts long after that day.  Among those Passover feasts was the one during Holy Week in 29 CE, when Jesus died.

Ritual has a proper place in religion.  Via ritual we mark time and set aside certain days.  And it is appropriate to observe Good Friday in a manner unlike any other day.  In The Episcopal Church we read a Passion account, distributing parts among members of the congregation.  The liturgy ends on a deafening and somber silence.  The ritual communicates a certain degree of the sadness of the crucifixion.  The silence speaks louder than any words can.

We remember the first Passover in joy and the crucifixion in stunned silence.  Both responses are appropriate.





Adapted from this post:


Exodus and Hebrews, Part V: The Sins of Others   1 comment


Above:  Lamb Altarpiece, Ghent, by Jan van Eyck (circa 1395-1441)


Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 12:1-28

Psalm 38 (Morning)

Psalms 126 and 102 (Evening)

Hebrews 5:1-14


Some Related Posts:

Exodus 12:

Hebrews 5:


Lord, Help Us Walk Your Servant Way:

That Solemn Night:

At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing:


It is appropriate to read instructions for the first Passover on Maundy Thursday.  Although the Synoptic Gospel narrative sets the crucifixion of Jesus on Friday–one day after the Passover meal, the Gospel of John places the crucifixion on Thursday–the day of Passover.  In simple terms, Jesus dies on the cross as sacrificial animals go to the slaughter at the Temple.  Jesus in the Passover Lamb in the Gospel of John.

The original Passover lambs in the Book of Exodus preserved the Hebrews from the consequences of the sins of others, especially the Pharaoh.  And Christ, as high priest in Hebrews 5, has no need to sacrifice for our sins (as he has none) but only for the sins of others.

The sins of others affect us; how can they not, given the fact that our lives intersect in society?  Likewise, our virtues affect each other for the same reason.  May we therefore, through Christ our sinless High Priest and Passover Lamb, affect each other more positively than negatively.  May we spread love, friendship, empathy, and compassion to each other.  May we not place others in harm’s way needlessly or accidentally.  May we build a better society.








Adapted from this post:


Metropolis (1927)   Leave a comment


Above:  Shift Change from Metropolis (1927)

A Screen Capture I Took


Directed by Fritz Lang

Written by Thea von Harbou

To say that Metropolis is a classic and influential film is to understate reality greatly; immediately I recognize echoes of it in the works of James Whale (Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein), George Lucas (Star Wars, sequels, and prequels), and Ridley Scott (Blade Runner).  Scholars of cinema can and do create long lists of influences and subsequent homages.  And to state that those who butchered the movie (even destroying cut scenes) shortly after the movie’s debut were blooming idiots is to claim the obvious as true.  Fortunately, a nearly complete restored version (finished in 2010) is available.

There are versions of the movie available for home viewing.  I have the 2001 restored version (with about 3/4 of the movie present) and the 2010 restored version (with 99% of the footage included).  Alas, two scenes are, to the best of current knowledge, beyond salvage, so intertitles summarizing them will have to suffice.  Each of these versions–the Restored Authorized Version of 2001 and the Complete Metropolis of 2010–has different and helpful special features, so I recommend owning both if one is a cinephile.  The commentary track on the 2001 version is quite informative, for example, as is the documentary included with the 2010 edition.

This is a religious blog, so I choose to leave most aspects of the movie to already extant websites (such as and ), which cover that ground quite well as I ponder some of the movie’s spiritual connections.  A film in which a city leader rules from the New Tower of Babel (a reference to Genesis 11:1-9), people read from the Book of Revelation (with references to the Whore of Babylon from chapters 17 and 19), and the leader’s son must serve as the mediator between the head (the ruler) and the hands (the oppressed workers) calls out for theological analysis.

Thea von Harbou’s story is set in an unnamed European city in 2026.  Urban elites live in skyscraper penthouses and play in the Eternal Gardens.  Meanwhile, those who built the city and who keep it functioning live hard lives, work ten-hour shifts, and occupy subterranean homes.  Joh Fredersen, the ruthless industrialist who governs the city, considers this arrangement just; the workers are, he says,

Where they belong.

His son, Freder, is naively unaware of the plight of the “other half” until Maria, the prophet of the working class, brings some of the workers’ barefoot children, clad in rags, to the Eternal Gardens and shows them their

brothers and sisters.

The butler shoos them away, of course.  But Freder begins to search the city in search of the woman with whom he has just fallen in love.  He does find her eventually, but not before he witnesses and experiences the harsh industrial conditions.  And he begins to realize his destiny to function as the mediator who will avert the violent overthrow of his father’s regime and who will create justice for the workers.

Some characters are inexact analogs for biblical figures.

Freder Fredersen is the Christ figure.  Not only is he the mediator, but he is crucified on a clock in one scene in which he takes a worker’s place.

If Freder Fredersen is the Christ figure, his father Joh is the YHWH figure.  If one reads the Hebrew Scriptures closely, one realizes that YHWH is not always nice.  Joh does approve of the workers’ rebellion so that he can crush it, eliminate troublemakers, and rule with an even more iron fist; he is an unsympathetic character.  Meanwhile, back in the Old Testament, depictions of YHWH are sometimes unpleasant; YHWH does send plagues and pestilences upon innocent populations more than once.  (See Exodus 7:14-12:32 and 2 Samuel 24:10-17, for example.)

Above:  Rotwang shows Joh Frederson the “Machine Man”

Rotwang, the inventor and prototypical cinematic mad scientist, is the Satan figure.  He pursues his own agenda and desires to undermine Joh.  Rotwang almost succeeds.

The movie portrays inhumane industrial conditions as idolatry.  In one scene Freder witnesses an industrial accident which claims human casualties.   He imagines the machine as Moloch/Molech, the Ammonite deity mentioned in 1 Kings 11:7 and 2 Kings 23:10, and experiences a hallucination of the machine consuming willing and unwilling human sacrifices.

Alas, the film’s conclusion does seem like a too-convenient deus ex machina, one which leaves the oppressive Joh Fredersen in charge.  But perhaps he will change his ways; nobody is beyond repentance and redemption, right?

Metropolis, despite its inconsistencies, is a staggering achievement and a masterpiece, one worthy of thoughtful appreciation and analysis beyond its obvious technical excellence.  This is not a story of the violent overthrow of the dictatorial and insensitive regime. Rather, the aborted uprising is the work of Rotwang, the Satan analog, who seeks to overthrow Joh, and of Joh, who wants to use the opportunity for his own purposes, only to find that they backfire on him.  So the politics of the film are inconsistent.  One might guess, based on the early scenes, that the ending might be different:  Freder and Maria overthrow Joh, with the screenwriter’s approval.  But no!

Yet the movie is what it is.  And the theme of social justice, especially that of the economic variety, is consistent with the ethos of the Hebrew prophets.








Divine Judgment, Patience, and Extravagance   1 comment

Above: Moses, by Rembrandt van Rijn (1659)


Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34 (Richard Elliott Friedman, 2001):

And Moses turned and went down from the mountain.  And the two tablets of witness were in his hand, tablets written from their two sides:  from this side and from this side they were written.  And the tablets:  they were God’s doing.  And the writing:  it was God’s writing, inscribed on the tablets.

And Joshua heard the sound of the people in its shouting, and he said to Moses,

A sound of war is in the camp.

Adoration of the Golden Calf, by Nicolas Poussin (1633-1634)

And he said,

It’s not a sound of singing of victory, and it’s not a sound of singing of defeat.  It’s just the sound of singing I hear!

And it was when he came close to the camp, and he saw the calf and dancing: and Moses’ anger flared, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them below the mountain.  And he took the calf that they had made, and he burned it in fire and ground it until it was thin, and he scattered it on the face of the water, and he made the children of Israel drink!

And Moses said to Aaron,

What did this people do to you, that you’ve brought a big sin on it?!

And Aaron said,

Let my lord’s anger not flare.  You know the people, that it’s in a bad state.  And they said to me, “Make gods for us who will go in front of us, because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt; we don’t know what has become of him”  And I said to them, “Whoever has gold:  take it off.”  And they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out!”

And it was on the next day, and Moses said to the people,

You’ve committed a big sin.  And now I’ll go up to YHWH.  Perhaps I may make atonement for your sin.

And Moses went back to YHWH and said,

Please, this people has committed a big sin and made gods of gold for themselves.  And now, if you will bear their sin–and if not, wipe me out with your scroll that you’ve written.

And YHWH said to Moses,

The one who has sinned against me, I’ll wipe him out from my scroll.  And now, go.  Lead the people to where I spoke to you.  Here, my angel will go ahead of you.  And, in the day that I will take account, I’ll account their sin to them.

Psalm 106:19-23 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

19 Israel made a bull-calf at Horeb

and worshiped a molten image;

20 And so they exchanged their Glory

for the image of an ox that feeds on grass.

21 They forgot God their Savior,

who had done great things in Egypt,

22 Wonderful deeds in the land of Ham,

and fearful things at the Red Sea.

23 So he would not have destroyed them,

had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach,

to turn away his wrath from consuming them.

Matthew 13:31-35 (J. B. Phillips, 1972):

Then he put another parable before them,

The kingdom of Heaven is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which a man took and sowed in his field.   As a seed it is the smallest of them all, but it grows to be the biggest of all plants.  It becomes a tree, big enough for birds to come and nest in its branches.

This is another of the parables he told them:

The kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, taken by a woman and put into three measures of flour until the whole had risen.

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables, and he did not speak to them at all without using parables–to fulfil the prophecy:

I will open my mouth in parables;

I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.


The Collect:

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


I have commented on the Parable of the Mustard Seed here:


The Hebrews committed idolatry for centuries.  Prophets railed against this practice; their testimonies reside in the pages of the Bible.  The sin was not worshiping other gods instead of YHWH; the sin was to worship other gods along side YHWH.  Recall one of the Ten Commandments:  Have no other gods before the face of YHWH.

The reading from Exodus is set after those whom God had freed from Egyptian slavery had dedicated themselves to God and Moses had received many commandments, including the Ten Commandments.  But old habits of thinking persist easily and die hard.  Hence there were an attempted coup d’etat of Moses by Aaron and the adoration of the golden calf.  Moses was angry, as was God.  Moses, by reducing the golden calf to golden dust, sprinkling the dust into water flowing from a mountain spring, and making the people drink it, both punished the idolaters and reminded them of YHWH, the source of the water in the desert.

Moses argued with God, interceding on behalf of the people.  He survived without the promise of judgment because his loyalties were with God.  So one can argue with God faithfully and not sin.  I like this vision of God, who is in clearly in charge, who does not brook idolatry, but who permits an honest argument.  This reflects great mercy.

Traditional Jewish theology understood yeast to be a sign of corruption.  Consider the following texts, if you will:

  1. Exodus 12:15-20; 23:18; 34:25
  2. Leviticus 2:11; 6:10

So using yeast as a positive image for the Kingdom of God was unexpected; it attracted attention.  In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus has already spoken of a very large weed, the mustard plant, in positive terms and used it an analogy for the Kingdom of God.  This yeast is quite productive, producing enough to feed 100-150 people.  The Kingdom will spread around the world, much like those pesky mustard plants.  Human agency cannot prevent any of this.

So divine grace is extravagant.  The Kingdom will go where it will.  And, although people sin, God is patient.  This fact, however, does not indicate a lack of judgment and punishment.  Judgment and mercy sit alongside each other.  May we rejoice in divine mercy, but not try God’s patience.  Instead, may we cooperate with God–and even argue faithfully with God from time to time.  Above all, may we be faithful.








Adapted from this post:


God is the Hope of All People   1 comment

Above:  The Persian Empire Circa 500 B.C.E.


Exodus 12:37-42 (An American Translation):

So the Israelites set out from Rameses for Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides the dependents; a great cloud went up with them, as well as very much live stock, both flocks and herds.  With the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, they baked unleavened cakes; for it was not leavened, because they had been driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

The length of time that the Israelites lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years; and at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, on that very day all the hosts of the LORD left the land of Egypt.  Since that was a night of vigil on the part of the LORD to bring them out of the land of Egypt; this night must be one of vigil for the LORD on the part of the Israelites throughout their generations.

Psalm 136:1-3, 10-16 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

for his mercy endures for ever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods,

for his mercy endures for ever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

for his mercy endures for ever.

10 Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,

for his mercy endures for ever;

11 And brought out Israel from among them,

for his mercy endures for ever;

12 With a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm,

for his mercy endures for ever;

13 Who divided the Red Sea in two,

for his mercy endures for ever;

14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it,

for his mercy endures for ever;

15 But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,

for his mercy endures for ever;

16 Who led his people through the wilderness,

for his mercy endures for ever.

Matthew 12:14-21 (An American Translation):

But the Pharisees left the synagogue and consulted about him, with a view to putting him to death.

But Jesus knew of this, and he left that place.  And numbers of people followed him about, and he cured them all, and warned them not to say anything about him–fulfilment of what was said by the prophet Isaiah,

Here is my servant whom I have selected,

My beloved, who delights my heart!

I will endow him with my Spirit,

And he will announce a judgment to the heathen.

He will not wrangle or make an outcry,

And no one will hear his voice in the streets;

He will not break off a bent reed,

And he will not put out a smoldering wick,

Until he carries his judgment to success.

The heathen will rest their hopes on his name!


The Collect:

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


God is the hope of all peoples, and the people who worship God (in the Judeo-Christian traditions) are called to be lights to the nations.  This is the deity whose “mercy endures for ever,” to quote Psalm 136.

The reading from Exodus is set immediately prior to the departure from Egypt.  The Canadian Anglican lectionary will cover that event during the Week of Proper 11, so I choose to hold off on certain comments until then.  For today, then, may we focus on the theme of an impending exodus–first from Egypt then from Mesopotamia.

The author of the Gospel of Matthew applies Isaiah 42:1-4 (the First Servant Song) to Jesus.  This text from Deutero-Isaiah is set shortly before the end of the Babylonian Exile and the return of exiles to their ancestral homeland.  This Exodus, like the one from Egypt, is God’s doing via direct actions and human agents.  The theology of much the Hebrew Bible, edited into its final form during the Post-Exilic period, is that the Israelite nations fell from greatness because they disobeyed God by condoning social injustice, practicing polytheism, and refusing to rely on God for strength.  So it makes sense that, prior to a Second Exodus, the Israelite people, identified as the servant of God, receive a charge to be a light to live justly and be a light to the nations.  (Read Isaiah 42:5-9.)

Yet a too-frequent feature of Post-Exilic Judaism was exclusivity.  Chevy Chase, when he was on Saturday Night Live, said

I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not

on the Weekend Update segment.  Likewise, there was a

I’m Jewish, and you’re not

quality about Post-Exilic Judaism.  During the time of Jesus, for example, there were many Gentiles who rejected polytheism and embraced the God of Judaism, but whom the Jewish religious establishment defined as marginal.  These Gentiles were still Gentiles, so there were places in the Jerusalem Temple complex they were not supposed to enter.

Jesus had great appeal to this population, from which came many of the first Christians.

I write these words on the Sixth Day of Christmas, so the thought of light in the darkness, applied to Jesus, is very much on my mind.  And I am exactly one week away from the Feast of the Epiphany, which is all about taking the news of the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles.  This thought comforts me, for I am a Gentile.

Christianity, an offshoot of Judaism, is an overwhelmingly Gentile faith system, of course.  But we have our own metaphorical Gentiles, those we keep at the margins.  Our criteria vary, ranging from socio-economic status to sexual orientation.  But Jesus lived, died, and rose again for these people, too.  And, before that, God loved all the insiders and outsiders, as we humans define them.  May we learn an essential lesson:  That our definition of “insider” is much narrower than God’s.  Then may we act accordingly.








Adapted from this post:


Posted April 18, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Exodus 12, Isaiah 42, Matthew 12, Psalm 136

Our Passover Lamb   2 comments

Lamb Altarpiece, Ghent, by Jan van Eyck (circa 1395-1441)


Collect and lections from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer


Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Exodus 12:1-14a (New Revised Standard Version):

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.  If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.  You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight.  They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs.  You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.  This is how you shall eat it; your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly.  It is the passover of the LORD.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.  The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (New Revised Standard Version):

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,

This is my body that is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Psalm 78:14-20, 23-25 (New Revised Standard Version):

In the daytime he [God] led them with a cloud,

and all night long with a fiery light.

He split rocks open in the wilderness,

and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.

He made streams come out of the rock,

and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Yet they sinned still more against him,

rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

They tested God in their heart

by demanding the food they craved.

They spoke against God, saying,

Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out

and torrents overflowed,

can he also give bread,

or provide meat for his people?

Yet he commanded the skies above,

and opened the doors of heaven;

he rained down on them manna to eat,

and gave them the grain of heaven.

Mortals ate the bread of angels;

he sent them food in abundance.

John 13:1-17 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him.  And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,

Lord, are you going to wash my feet?

Jesus answered,

You do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.

Peter said to him,

You will never wash my feet.

Jesus answered,

Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.

Simon Peter said to him,

Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!

Jesus said to him,

One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean.  And you are clean, though not all of you.

For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said,

Not all of you are clean.

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them,

Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done for you.  Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.  If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them….


Luke 22:14-30 (New Revised Standard Version):

When the hour came, he [Jesus] took his place at the table, and the apostles with him.  He said to them,

I have eagerly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he said,

Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said to them, saying,

This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.

And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying,

This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.  But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table.  For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!

Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  But he said to them,

The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.  But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.  For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?  Is it not the one at the table?  But I am among you as one who serves.

You are those who have stood by me in my trials, and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Collect:

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


The Kingdom of God stands in stark contrast to human political and economic systems.  Political systems, even the most benign ones, rely partially on coercion.  And economic systems stand partially on artificial scarcity.  With God, however, there is always enough for everyone to have what he or she needs, and servanthood is the path to leadership.

These are radical ideas.  In the 1960s Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini made the landmark movie, The Gospel According Matthew, with most dialogue lifted from the Gospel of Matthew.  Spanish Fascist dictator Francisco Franco labeled the movie “Marxist.”  An old maxim states that the purpose of the Gospel is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.  That is what the Gospel does when one presents it properly, without diluting it.

Jesus demonstrated service, becoming the Passover lamb.  This point becomes especially clear in the Gospel of John, which places the crucifixion on Thursday, as the priests sacrifice lambs at the Temple.  Thus the Last Supper was a Passover meal in the Synoptic Gospels, but not the Johannine Gospel.  In John, Jesus was the Passover meal. And today, in the Holy Eucharist (one of seven sacraments), we Christians can partake of his body and blood–not in a symbolic sense, not as a memorial meal, not as an ordinance–but via Transubstantiation.  Thanks be to God!

The purpose of the Passover lamb’s blood smeared on the household door frame was to spare the life of the firstborn son in that household.  In other words, the blood of the lamb saved one ‘s life from the consequences of other people’s sins.  This is vital to understand.  If Jesus, then, is the ultimate Passover lamb, he saves us from consequences of the sins of others, not ourselves.  So St. Anselm’s theology of the Atonement cannot rest upon the Passover lamb analogy.  Thus the nature of Jesus’ sacrifice must work another way, assuming the veracity of the Passover lamb analogy.  (Think about it.)








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