The Passover is still a key part of life and faith for Jewish families. And it’s a religious festival of families and households, rather than churches or synagogues. It’s a ritual meal which keeps alive the memory of the God of our ancestors, and of how that God brought his people to freedom long ago. There’s a response which is used as the story of the Exodus is retold, ‘it was not only for our ancestors but for us.’ This ancient story is still a story of modern freedom, and as the story is retold and the meal re-enacted, it’s as if those gathered around the table are back there in the desert with Moses.
It’s the foundation of our communion service, which again is a meal to remember God’s action in bringing freedom. There’s lots I’d love to write about that (about how it’s for the world, not one nation, through God’s own death, not that of others), but I’d be jumping ahead and cheating.
It’s clear how important it is to God that the people of Israel remember that night. Not just in the annual Passover but in the birth of every firstborn child or animal, they are to be reminded of the value and cost of their freedom.
There’s more in these chapters, of course. More of that troubling hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. More of the humiliation of Egypt, this time as her army, which terrified other nations, disappears under the sea. Not even the chariots and bowmen of Egypt can stop the freedom God brings.
But the theme that comes most to me here is that of remembering – not just in communion, but in our homes and family lives. What is it so important that we remember? And how can we keep that memory alive for generations to come? What has God done for us that we want our great-great-great-……-great-grandchildren to remember? And how are we passing that memory on now to the next generation, so that they can pass it on in turn?