Thursday, April 17, 2014

celebrating passover and remembering true joy

Last night I flitted about in the grocery store, buying supplies to make our Seder dinner. I searched out bitter herbs, unleavened bread, an egg, some sweet apples and raisins, and grape juice. I stood at the meat counter and requested a lamb shank bone.

"No bones, but I can sell you the whole shank," the man informed me.

"Great. I'll take it," I casually replied.

He wrapped up the meat, printed out the price, and handed it to me. I reached out my hand and suddenly it all seemed absurd.

This is too easy. A pound of meat felt too light to be symbolic of my Lord. Five dollars for a Passover lamb seems a shoddy price to pay to for a Redeemer. My time spent preparing a plate of symbolic food for our friends and family is a piddly investment in light of His eternal love for us.

And yet, maybe that's the point.

Maybe I need to remember that my life is light and easily given compared to all that Jesus has sacrificed for me. And maybe the fact that He was willing to die for someone so small means I am loved more than I recognize most days

I left the meat counter and walked through the bakery. I absent-mindedly snatched up a box of chocolate cookies because I wanted to eat chocolate cookies after shopping. I literally smiled as I placed them in my basket.

My heart is easily distracted, obviously. What are cookies compared to eternal love? The words "wretched flesh" seem harsh, but that's what I'm dealing with here. I can make myself happy, but only God can give me joy.

Joy- true joy comes from a proper view of ourselves. 

The curse of death passes over the children of God. We are the of those who are spared from eternal darkness. We are the redeemed, the purified, the whole, the loved, the treasured, the saved. And we deserve don't deserve any of it.

The harder scriptures prove the humble truth and help us find real joy:

"We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering.
We have not given salvation to the earth,  nor brought life into the world.
But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again!
Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy!
For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!"
Isaiah 26:18-20

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." 
-Romans 6:4

"Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 
-1 Corinthians 5:6-8

"God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed." 
-2 Thessalonians 1:6-10

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,  whose sins are put out of sight.
Yes, what joy for those  whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”
Romans 4:7-9

Tonight we will joyfully remember, the body broken for us, the blood of the final Passover lamb that was spilled to wash us clean, the nail-pierced hands that hold us securely. We are loved, our names are written in heaven, and His joy makes us complete.
Hosanna in the Highest. May our joy-filled lives bring glory to the Lamb who takes away our sins....

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