I couldn’t get the first day of passover right this year to save my life. I mean truly, if I were one of those Israelites or the Lord’s salvation depended on my participation on the very date, I would be good as dead.
I’ve wanted to partake in a biblical feast for awhile now. So when last week I heard the ping and saw in my inbox a free passover planner from Jennifer Peppito over at The Peaceful Press, it felt like for once my dreams of doing this were more easily attainable. I am a lover of instruction manuals and game rules. This little download seemed to assure me that all I had to do was follow this little pdf file, find a lamb bone, and the table would be set, bread flat, and we would be passed over. Success.
But the real issue came in when I couldn’t master the date. At first, inviting some family along, I said it would be Saturday night. Then three days passed before I realized passover wasn’t the day before Easter… and then I went with Thursday. “My bad,” I said. “Newbies over here. It’s actually Thursday.”
And then this morning I awoke (it is indeed Thursday, friends), walked over to my calendar looking for something completely different for my eyes to fall on yesterday. Wednesday, April 5, 2023. The day Passover began at sundown.
I never even messaged them to take the second date back. I already felt a little bit like a crazy person inviting anyone, as we’re not even Jewish and celebrating a Jewish feast. Add on the fact I got the date wrong twice and I was ready to crawl under a table.
I thought about texting my husband and telling him we wouldn’t do it because we already missed it. As the day drew near and the realization set in that I am not a cook and had no idea how to cook lamb, let alone very little clue what you do at a Passover feast. I wanted to cancel. Everything other than downloading the pdf felt clunky. Even as we shopped for the ingredients Wednesday night, my husband and I bickered over this meat that we were both clueless about and half the ingredients we had never heard of that we were now trying to find.
None of it was easy. But the thought of telling my husband after all the apologies spilt out over lamb meat that we were going to sit this one out sounded worse than just doing it. So I went to the thrift shop to find a couple extra table settings and came home to sift through the guide to make preparations.
And that is where God met me in this and reminded me of His grace in this celebration, even the total failure to procure the right date echoing my deep need for Him and His deep love for me.
Because of the cross, I can celebrate anyway.
Have you ever partaken in the Seder feast? Its beautiful. Leading up to, I had said to everyone I mentioned it to that I knew we weren’t Jewish, justifying our wanting to partake because of a deeper desire to reflect with Jesus this week. But afterward, every piece of shame slipped to the floor- reading the invitation for the foreigners to come join the celebration, recognizing that foreigner within myself along with a beautifully extended welcome from my Father to reflect in Thanksgiving.
Because I may not be of Jewish descent, but it is a part of His story where I can gaze upon Him in all of His rescuing power- seeing and declaring He is beautiful in what He has done for others. I may have not been enslaved in Egypt, but I do know what its like to be set free- seeing the beauty in what He has done for me.
Nothing in the feast is void of meaning. The mother’s get to bless the family and light the candles, setting the table for remembrance. The children get to ask questions, with permission to come without understanding and receive answers in the peaceful candlelight, and the Father gets to lead the family through a beautiful monologue, reminding every soul present of God’s everlasting and ever-present redeeming love. We went to bed repositioned to receive that continual rest, our hearts re-centered on not just the price paid for the gift- Jesus’ crucifixion- but also the joy of the perfect good gift from our Father that we will not deny.
I think it can be hard to hear and hard to cling to- the fact that Jesus dying on the cross was good. Being murdered doesn’t sound good. Nothing about Jesus suffering makes me want to leap for joy. But it was the Father’s plan. And not just a plan… a gift. And just like Jesus suffered so that we could receive that goodness, we would have never been able to receive that gift without that suffering. Resurrection doesn’t happen without death. & so we receive it, & as Jesus endured it with joy because of the good and perfect outcome God had for this story, we receive it with joy and sincere hearts- looking ahead at the beautiful gift of new life and new beginnings.
It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.