When They Ask…

At church this Sunday, Scott continued his series in Exodus, this week talking through God’s instructions regarding the Passover. You can listen to the message here.

One of the things that struck me here was this simple statement from Exodus 12:24-27:

“Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ ” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.

The statement is “When your children ask you…” I think it points to the need for tradition in our family. God purposely gave His people these moments, to celebrate in sometimes strange-looking ways, so that the next generation might ask, “What does that mean?”

“Why do we eat the bitter herbs?”

“Why do we build a shack in our backyard?”

“Why do we eat the bread and drink the wine?”

But in today’s church culture of newer and better, are we doing anything that would cause our children to ask, “Why do we do this?” Traditions like that open the door for great stories, great memories, and great faith. Those are the moments to be passed down. And the Bible is full of them.

It seems like the Lord is about creating these “when your children ask” moments. They come through meals, traditions, and celebrations, if we take the time and energy to practice—or even know—the traditions.

Looking forward to advent…

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4 Comments

  • liturgicsjay says:

    A living tradition is a beautiful thing. I hope my kids can be immersed in a culture that rehearses and proclaims God’s story in worship at church, at home, at play.
    Our Western sensibility is so different from that of the Hebrews, but we can learn so much from them. The thing I love about passing down – literally, “traditioning” – the Passover experience is that the Fathers and Mothers were to communicate the event as if they were part of the experience: “When God delivered us,” “I was a wandering Aramean,” etc. So, “remembering,” especially in worship, has a deeper quality to it than simply thinking back and getting a spat of nostalgia or warm fuzzies. It is very concrete and participatory.
    I’m excited about Advent too. 🙂

  • Michael K. says:

    Cool comment, Jay. Thought this backed up what you are saying. The Passover Haggadah says, “In every generation, one ought to regard himself as though he had personally come out of Egypt.”

  • Becky Dietz says:

    Kind of off the subject, but recently, we had our 9-year-old granddaughter visiting and we went to a S.S. party. At this party (of 50-60 year olds) we started singing—hymns. Now my granddaughter loves music, but knew none of the hymns. All of a sudden, I GOT it! I knew exactly why our senior adults have fought for hymns in the church. (And no, I haven’t been a part of that fight. In fact, I argued that hymns were “about” God and praise songs were “to” God.) I felt sorry for Caitlin sitting there knowing none of the songs–but trying. And as I listened to the hymns, I realized they were “stories” being passed down from one generation to the next. It was one generation telling the old, old story to the next generation.
    I love tradition. I love roots. But I have to admit there’s not alot of tradition in my home that would cause my grandchildren to ask why we do that.

  • Michael K. says:

    It’s a great point, Becky. I’m learning to rediscover alot of those things, too, which at one point in my life I considered constraining and outdated. Woops.

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