Passover brings ancient Jewish tradition to life. It reminds us of God’s faithfulness and the endurance of a people. The Passover celebration serves as a reminder of the endurance of the Jewish people, who have survived and thrived several thousand years as an identifiable congregation of believers with the same core values and vision. Jewish festivals proclaim that God’s faithfulness in the past carries into the present, giving us hope for the future.
Central to the Passover ritual is the sharing of a meal. The original meal included unleavened bread and a young lamb seasoned with desert plants (“bitter herbs”) and roasted over an open fire. The Passover meal commemorates their ancestors’ final meal as captives in Egypt.
Moses’ deliverance began in a personal encounter with God. At the burning bush, Moses heard God declare, “I am the God who is and who will be active in whatever you are called to face” (AP). This encounter reveals God’s pattern of working. God meets us where we are and pledges to accompany us wherever we go. As we worship, praise, and honor the Lord our God, believe in a God who is active in and through history, and remember God’s deliverance, God frees us to flourish as God’s people. All this comes at God’s initiative.
The Hebrew people do not choose to be the people of God; God chooses them. (See Exodus 6:7.) Their ritual acts proclaim their faith that God will act soon to deliver them once more. This is the hope of a suffering people. God can still bring about a radical change in the world order.

The great reality undergirding all Hebrew faith is not the Jews’ grasp of God but God’s grasp of them.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 18:15-20

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Lectionary Week
September 4–10, 2017
Scripture Overview

Exodus 12 provides instructions for keeping the Passover. Yahweh defends those who seek Yahweh’s shelter. In the end, the people stand liberated from all false loyalties and allegiances, and vow allegiance to Yahweh alone. Psalm 149 sounds a strong note of realism. The rule of Yahweh binds Israel to an understanding that the social order must re ect the moral integrity of the world’s ultimate King. The reading from Romans 13 marks a point of transition within Paul’s letter. Paul here urges his readers to trust that faith in Christ makes a difference. Matthew 18 speaks to the importance of trustworthiness in the life of the believing community and provides measures for the restoration of confidence and for reconciliation.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 12:1-14. In the Passover meal, no one is excluded from the table. Where in your life can you be more inclusive?
• Read Psalm 149. If you wrote a new song to celebrate and recall a “mighty act of God” in your life, what would the song be about?
• Read Romans 13:8-14. Reading these verses of Paul’s letter to the Roman church, how would you de ne your neighbors? Are there neighbors, whether close by or far away, with whom you need a closer connection?
• Read Matthew 18:15-20. When have you spoken privately to a member of your faith community about an offense against you? What was the result?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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