Taste is a powerful memory jogger. Every family has quirky favorites. My husband gasps in horror when I dip grilled cheese in ketchup. But for me, the combination conjures up memories of a happy childhood and a mother’s loving service to me. I turn up my nose when he suggests we pick up some bologna and Wonder bread at the store, but for him, that simple sandwich takes him back to his growing up years.
In Leviticus 23:1-8, the Lord is giving Israel instructions through Moses concerning the celebrations of the Passover. As the core of the instructions is the direction to eat unleavened bread for seven days. For an entire week, they were to eat bread without yeast. No fluffy loaves but only the quick, flat bread made in haste. Why would God be so concerned about their bread consumption during Passover?
Recall that God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt was a dramatic (and traumatic) affairs. Ten horrifying plagues fell upon Egypt, the last of which was the most devastation: every first born son would die. Israel was instructed to take an unblemished lamb and prepare it for the family. Some of the blood was to be smeared above the door frame of the house and the Angel of Death would then pass over the house, leaving the family untouched by death.
After weeks of refusals and betrayals from Pharaoh, this final plague breaks the evil king. Not only does he free the Israelites, he insists they leave immediately. In their haste to prepare for their journey, the Israelites did not have time to allow the bread to rise and thus prepared and ate unleavened bread.
Every year when they would taste that simple flat bread, they would remember that night. They would remember their deliverance from Egypt by the Lord’s mighty hand. Every year, as they prepared the bread, they would tell their children the story of God’s saving action in their life.
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Grace and Peace.