Complaints about mothers-in-law are as old as the institution of marriage. Yet I confess, my mother-in-law was a rare jewel. She had many remarkable qualities. She was the ultimate encourager. She never forgot your name or your situation. She left a wake of joy and blessing wherever life’s voyage took her. And her life took her into some dark and difficult places. She excelled in the art of gift giving. And she always knew and gave exactly what you needed.
But her chief pleasure was the pleasure of others. And no event gave her greater opportunity to please than feast-keeping. Holiday meals were lavish, expansive, and eclectic. She ensured that everyone’s favorite dish was on the table. For me it was pickled peaches. No one else shared my passion for pickled peaches. And they are extremely hard to procure in Arkansas. Yet every Thanksgiving MaMa preserved one quart jar of homemade pickled peaches, just for me.
MaMa knew the importance of keeping the feast. Of gathering and celebrating the season. Of remembering the grace of God with gratitude through feast-keeping. Feasting it important. God commanded feasts in the Old Testament to ensure the people would remember His mighty acts of deliverance. And to prepare them for the even greater ultimate deliverance in Christ. The feasts joyfully told the story – His story. The story of what made God’s people different. Of who they were and whose they were. And of how they came to be.
The feasts of Israel were not optional. Not extra for experts. Nor merely perfunctory or obligatory. They were to be attended with solemnity, yet joy. With careful preparation, yet zealous participation. And most of all they were to be enjoyed in faith. Faith that the God who delivered them from the tyranny of Pharaoh would deliver them from the ultimate tyranny of sin. And so, at the climax of the exodus, we find more instruction than action. God instructs his people to keep the Passover with diligence and sincerity. And in the same way we are still instructed to keep the feast.
But Christ is our Passover and we celebrate this great work of redemption as we gather around his table in the Lord’s Supper. Paul instructs us.
For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.1 Corinthians 5:7-8
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?1 Corinthians 10:16-17
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Are you keeping the feast? Are you coming in faith? Carefully prepared to thankfully participate? Join us this week as we examine Exodus 12:43-13:16 to consider God’s instructions to his ancient people and to us to keep the feast.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.