Old and New

The sun came up gently today over Emden, a gentle mesh of purple and darkness, starting my last weekday in Emden with a beautiful vista. I haven't posted in a while due to the transition that I've been going through (as well as a DMin class, but that's another story) so I finally got clear to do so today. On Monday I'll start a new position as Minister of Spiritual Formation and Small Groups at Parkview Christian Church in Chicago's southwest 'burbs. I'm excited for the new challenges, but I'm also in patient waiting as several things have to fall into place before our family life gets established there. We covet your prayers as we do the house/job hunt thing, especially in the current economic climate. Our intention is to find something that meets our needs and not our wants, but also allows us to be available to the marginalized in the surrounding communities. I'll likely continue to post here, but I wouldn't expect anything for a week or so. Two insights from studying Exodus the past few weeks:

1. The passover event troubles me, as the death of the firstborn in Egypt is a theologically difficult moment. I came to the realization that "firstborn" does not refer to infants only--as Rameses II decree in Ex. 1-2 did--but to ALL firstborn in any family. I am my mother's firstborn, even though I'm 31. This event took children, brothers, mothers, husbands, wives and fathers. What I have come to terms with is that my view of death is not consistent with God's view of death and its impact. Why would God cause such suffering--because Pharaoh resisted? Yet Exodus repeatedly alternates between Pharaoh hardening his heart and God hardening Pharaoh's heart--I'm not sure he needed any help--but is God culpable in the deaths as well? No Max Lucado solutions here, this is a place where I will wrestle.

2. The Passover is an amazing discipline of remembrance. Scholars say the greatest threat to the faith of Israel was to "forget." The whole point, as articulated in Ex. 12, of the Passover feast and feast of unleavened bread was so that generations later the question would be asked "Why do we do this?" and then the story of the Exodus and God's graceful rescue (#1 included) and establishment of His people. It makes good sense then that Jesus would choose a symbolic date and symbolic meal (upper room on Passover) to remake the covenant of God in the shadow of His covenant with Israel (rescue, lamb, unleavened bread, blood). This is the place where the story of Jesus becomes so much more powerful, when we remember to root it in what the world was seeing in Jesus at the time. He was re-enacting the Exodus: baptism in the Jordan, wandering in the wilderness, declaring Jubilee in the synagogue, and sharing the blood and bread of Passover in a brand new way.

listening: Bon Iver, "Wisconsin"