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Passover Sacrifices

A Lent Reflection for Thursday, March 21 by Rev. Cindy M. Riley


Lectionary reading for 03/21/2024: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Deuteronomy 16:1-8; Philippians 2:1-11

Selected passage for reflection: Deuteronomy 16:1-8


Read

Deuteronomy 16:1-8,  NLT

 “In honor of the Lord your God, celebrate the Passover each year in the early spring, in the month of Abib,for that was the month in which the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Your Passover sacrifice may be from either the flock or the herd, and it must be sacrificed to the Lord your God at the designated place of worship—the place he chooses for his name to be honored. 3 Eat it with bread made without yeast. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, as when you escaped from Egypt in such a hurry. Eat this bread—the bread of suffering—so that as long as you live you will remember the day you departed from Egypt. 4 Let no yeast be found in any house throughout your land for those seven days. And when you sacrifice the Passover lamb on the evening of the first day, do not let any of the meat remain until the next morning.

5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you. 6 You must offer it only at the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Sacrifice it there in the evening as the sun goes down on the anniversary of your exodus from Egypt. 7 Roast the lamb and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses. Then you may go back to your tents the next morning. 8 For the next six days you may not eat any bread made with yeast. On the seventh day proclaim another holy day in honor of the Lord your God, and no work may be done on that day.


Reflect 

So, my husband Dennis has developed an allergy to yeast.  We made several visits to the local fire department after a meal, often followed by a trip to the ER due to hives, dangerously low  blood and his inability to breathe.  At first, we couldn’t figure out what the allergy was, so every meal felt like we were playing Russian roulette with his life.  Finally, a test revealed a high sensitivity to yeast.  We quickly learned just how many food items contain yeast.  Our approach to meals completely changed because of this tiny food additive.


In today's reading, Moses reminds the children of Israel how to celebrate the Passover.   Amongst other things, they’re not to add yeast to bread during the passover. This is to remind them of when they fled Egypt. God told them to make bread with no yeast for their journey.  The bread  would be easier to carry and keep longer without the leavening agent.   


Yeast, in and of itself, is not bad. There is nothing sinful about ingesting yeast.  Yet, in the Bible it is used to represent sin.  A little bit of yeast will raise a whole batch of bread.  A little bit of sin will spread and keep us from living the life God means for us to have.  When God told the children of Israel to leave the yeast out of the bread, he was in a sense telling them to leave the sin of Egypt behind.  The ways of life they had constructed to survive in Egypt would no longer serve them in their new life of freedom.  God’s people had a long journey ahead of them.  They were entering a liminal space between Egypt, a land of bondage and the Promised Land, a land of freedom.


Perhaps like me you find yourself in a transitional season, a liminal space, on your way and not there yet.  These seasons can be brought on by loss of a job, deaths, births, new relationships, illness, anything that brings immense change, whether internally or externally.   In these spaces, what has worked  before often doesn’t work anymore.  These spaces stretch us beyond our normal ways of coping.  The only way forward is to let go of what is no longer serving us.    


God calls us to let go of the habits, constructs and old ways that no longer serve us. The yeast in our lives could be sin, an attitude, a habit, a way of thinking, or anything that keeps us from fully living the life that God has for us.   


Dennis no longer eats yeast of any fashion so that he may live.  

I am finding that God is calling me to let go of some of my old coping mechanisms.   

What might God be calling you to leave out or leave behind as he calls you to greater freedom in Christ?   


Respond 

  1. Inhale deeply then exhale until you can’t help but take a breath. 

  2. Notice how the emptying of your lungs makes room for a fresh breath.

  3. Ask God what he is asking you to let go of.  As you let go of it, there’s room for a fresh breath.  

  4. Wait for God’s response.   It may not come immediately.   Make this an ongoing practice.  Room will be made for all God has for you.  


Rest 

Pray with me.

God, our deliverer, help us rest in your unfailing love so we may run the race before us with no unnecessary burdens.  Help us walk in the freedom we have in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and live the life you have created us to live.   Amen


About the Author 


Cindy and her husband Dennis live in Swannanoa NC.  They have 5 grandchildren.  She enjoys watching the neighbor’s cattle roam against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains and walking along the creeks and rivers that have formed the Swannanoa Valley.   Her passion is to help people discover the power of who they are and live into their divine purpose.  Cindy is a church planter also serving as the Program Director for Hope for Tomorrow, a transitional housing program for single moms experiencing homelessness.  



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