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.…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. (EX 12:3, 11 NRSV)
When God prepared the people of Israel to leave Egypt, it was with haste. Passover commemorates the final plague, when the Spirit that moved among the Egyptians passed over the Israelites. They ate standing up, dressed for the journey, ready to flee with their lives and little else. The image in that ancient account of tragedy and preparation can mean something extra for us who live not too far from the coast and seasonal evacuation, even as far away from storms as Winnfield. Thankfully, most of us have not made such decisions
Take a moment to think of what you’d take if tomorrow was the day to head for The Red Sea. What would you pack; what you leave behind? Pictures? Letters? Perhaps a piece of art or a souvenir from childhood or an old wedding gift? It seems an almost impossible choice.
How we are blessed! We have treasured objects, most of which represent treasured memory. Every photograph opens a window; every gift marks cherished events or moments and recalls a giver who held us generously in the heart. There are things that cannot be replaced by Amazon.
Difficult choice? We are blessed indeed! Treasuring more than one can lift marks the generous gifts of life and beloved family and friends. To use an old phase: an embarrassment of riches.
Nevertheless, take that moment, in this Passover thought experiment, to consider what you have, what you would keep first, and what you might be willing to cross our imagined Red Sea without.
Sorting through priorities, and living in the light of those choices, can happen any time. It doesn’t require either an Exodus or a hurricane, and it can be a liberating experiment. Prayer, meditation, conversation and experience, can lead to discovering what is most important. Perhaps it can lead to letting go of the stuff – material and otherwise – that doesn’t matter any more. It can lead to a deeper understanding of who and whose we are.
So perhaps we can pray: Almighty God, thank you for the great gifts bestowed upon us in this life. We thank you for abundant daily comfort, for lifelong riches of love and memory, and chiefly for the inestimable gift of your Son, our Savior. We thank you as well for the gifts of discernment that guide our choices. As we go through the pilgrimage of this life’s journey, keep us ever mindful of the needs of others, and mindful of ways to help them. Through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
St. Paul’s Winnfield