On Sunday, this most holy of Christian days, it is finally time to get back to the sacraments. It took me a long time to decide on a name for this post. After all, religious tradition demands I call it by a more traditional, religious name. The Eucharist is an obvious candidate. After all, sacrament is a Catholic word, why not use the word Catholics are most familiar with? But I’m not a Catholic, neither, I suspect, are most of my readers. The good Protestant name for the ceremony would be the Lord’s Supper. Thaat is the one I grew up with. For a number of reasons i might go into, that one doesn’t feel right either. So, I decided to go Old school: Old Testament.
You see, there can be no Lord’s supper or Eucharist without the Passover. If that event in Hebrew lore is neither literal nor meaningful, then there is simply no foundation for anything built atop it. I will say up front, I do not believe in any of the details surrounding the Passover. In fact, I believe it is one of the most repugnant stories in all of scripture. It is not to be celebrated, but morned.
Quickly glossing over the details, god’s people were slaves in Egypt. He wanted to free them, but not too soon or too easy. He allowed them to stay in that condition for 400 years. When he decided to free them, he didn’t just open a door to freedom and have them walk through. First, he tormented the Egyptians with unnatural plague after plague, no doubt, killing countless innocents in the process. Having your entire water supply turn into blood can’t be healthy for the population.
He finally ends his reign of terror. by creating a situation he described as causing such sorrow as as never been experienced before. He didn’t just want to free the Hebrews, which seemed to be a secondary goal, he wanted to build a reputation and really give it to those Egyptians. He did this by sending a death angel to slaughter every firstborn save for those who had an appropriate bloody sign on their doorpost. Naturally, the Egyptians didn’t get the message. God killed every firstborn of everyone in the region who’s doorpost was not appropriately bloodied. The death angel hacked and slashed his way through adults and babies alike, as well as livestock. The only homes that were passed over were those Hebrew homes with the bloody signposts.
That is why it is called the Passover, and that is why it is celebrated by the Jews. There was a meal and several other rituals involved. The bottom line is that by the time Jesus famously celebrated it, the Passover had become something else. Jesus had taken the place of the pascal lamb, and it was his blood that was to be placed on the doorposts of our hearts. But symbolism must have its basis in reality. If there was no death angel running around killing innocent children, then no Jews were ever save from such a fate. A ceremony that reenacted that ritual would be meaningless without the actual ritual to reenact. If god really cause that suffering in Egypt, then the Passover should never be celebrated. If he didn’t, then we are all fools for participating.
There is no need to get into the ritual of drinking blood, or the reenactment of drinking blood. to debunk this ghastly ritual. Your perspective on that matter simply does not matter on iota. If a death angel did not literally pass over the Hebrew people in the way described in Exodus, then the Passover, Eucharist, Lord’s Supper is a farce. There are a lot of superstitions that you have to wholeheartedly buy into to accept the Passover. I can’t, and lord knows I tried. I do not take it in any form these days. I simply cannot do so with integrity. If you can, feel free to leave a comment in the Comment section.