Looking at the Cross through the lens of the Passover and the breaking of the table in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, this sermon calls us to travel through this week as through the birth canal of our New Life. We are born into new life through the events of Holy Week, as God is revealed in Jesus to be a God we could not even hope for and a king unlike any king that has lived on earth, a God and King who gives himself in self-sacrifice for our salvation, our freedom to be not servants of a master but sons and daughters of God. The news is almost too good to believe.
*some further notes:
*God was not angry with the people set free, but rather that God was angry at the oppressors. God does get angry with sin and threatens the people. There are limits with God in the Bible, but the picture of the Passover is a God who is setting his people free.
*C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man
The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
*I listened to, and was influenced by, the Great Courses lectures of C.S. Lewis that I stole from M. Johnson.
*Ronnie Warren's One More Night with the Frogs
*Paul does refer to Jesus' death as an "expiation" for our sins, but I think a larger reading of the New Testament and the Hebrews Scriptures demands that we see that in the context of Passover and Covenant rather than the buying off of God. Jesus as the preeminent sacrifice has to be understood (even in Hebrews) as a self-sacrifice, and if Jesus pays for our sins, he does so taking on the sins himself and willingly dying in our place to set us free, not because God is unable to love, but because God's love is self-sacrificing.
*God does rule us; but it is a rule of love and not merely law, like a parent or an ideal king, who understands boundary and law as acts of love.
The Liturgy of the Palms
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
The Liturgy of the Word
The Passover Story
12The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell 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. 4If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11This 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. 12For 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 judgements: I am the Lord. 13The 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.
14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. 15Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel. 16On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance. 18In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you shall eat unleavened bread. 19For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether an alien or a native of the land. 20You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.
21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go, select lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover lamb. 22Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood in the basin. None of you shall go outside the door of your house until morning. 23For the Lord will pass through to strike down the Egyptians; when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over that door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you down. 24You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children. 25When you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this observance. 26And when your children ask you, “What do you mean by this observance?” 27you shall say, “It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.” ’ And the people bowed down and worshipped.
28 The Israelites went and did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. 30Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. 31Then he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, ‘Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord, as you said. 32Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!’