Christ our Passover
John Telgren

The story of the 10th plague and the Passover in Exodus 11-13 are interwoven with both story, ritual and liturgy. God gives instructions for the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, and the redemption of the first-born. This demonstrates the nature of ritual. God never intended for them to be followed mindlessly. They were not simply commands to be obeyed. They were much more.

First of all, it was a reminder not only for them, but for their future generations. Perhaps that is why the instruction for these rituals were interwoven with the stories in the text. You cannot separate ritual from liturgy and story, or it becomes nothing more than a dry duty to be mindlessly performed. It was to be commemorated "for generations to come (Exo12:14)" for very specific reasons.

"…when your children ask you, what does this ceremony mean to you" Then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over of the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians…(Exo 12:26-27)."

There are several verse like this (Exo 12:13, 12:26-27; 13:8-9, 13:14-16).

Second, there is participation. When they reached the Promised Land, they were not to tell them about what happened to our "ancestors," but about what happened to "us."

"…In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' Say to him, 'With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt…(Exo 13:14)."

They were to say, "God brought US out of Egypt." "God spared OUR homes." The ritual and stories brought the past to the present in a vivid and powerful way. In a sense, they were able to "participate" in the Passover.

Third, there is communion.

"If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, haven taken into account the number of people there are …(Exo 12:4)"

"The whole community of Israel must celebrate it (Exo 12:46)."

Everyone was to commemorate the Passover, and no one was to do it alone. God redeemed a people, and as a people they were to remember the Passover.

As Christians, Christ is our Passover (1 Cor 5:7). Jesus transformed the Passover into a weekly remembrance of our deliverance from bondage to sin through his blood of the new covenant (1 Cor 11:23-25). It is also a fellowship and participation (1 Cor 10:16-17). This is not something we do individually, but as a redeemed community, body, and family. It is truly "communion." But there is a new aspect for the Christian passover. We don't just look back at what God did, but we also look forward to the return of his son, Jesus, to take us home (1 Cor 11:26).

So this "ritual" has a story, or recitation which gives it meaning. It not only brings the past to the present, but like the Israelite Passover, it should root us and our children in our faith.

An interesting reflection: How can I ensure that our rituals are rooting my children in our faith?