Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection All Years, Maundy Thursday, Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 12:1-14a

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be a day of remembrance for you.

Reflection on Exodus 12:1-14a by John Gibbs, PhD

The events of Holy Week comprise a New Exodus for all Israel, all humanity, and all that is. That is the point in the Christian re-reading of Exodus 12:1-14a. The festival of Passover sees the angel of death "passing over" those houses that have sacrificial blood on the door-posts and headboard (lintel) of their front entrances. Blood was the metaphorical unifying bond between deity and congregation of worshippers, for part of the blood was placed on the deity's altar and part on the gathered people.

Now in the second exodus, a way out from bondage is opened by the final once-for-all sacrifice. And, as the early Church understood it (I Cor. 8:6; Rom. 8:19ff.), this liberation from bondage reaches not only all God's People, but also the whole creation of which they are part. Early Christians were far different in this respect from our Western Christians who so emphasize justification by faith of one person at a time that they often lose sight of the congregation, not to mention the whole creation within which we live and die.


To Reflections on the other readings for Maundy Thursday:
Old Testament Exodus 12:1-14a
this page
Psalm Psalm 78:14-20,23-25
New Testament 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26 (27-32)
Gospel John 13:1-15 or Luke 22:14-30

John Gibbs, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 2001. John and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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This page last updated 01-10-15.