This coming week as some are readying for the celebration of Easter, others are celebrating the holiday of Passover. Originally Passover was a celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt for the Israelites, for many years after that it was also a spring celebration of the “first fruits of the barley” which was the first growth of the new growing season (you can read about the origin of Passover here). Both of these are big reasons for celebration, let’s talk a bit about each.
Passover is important to anyone who has religious connections to the Israelites. While Christians don’t typically celebrate it and it’s usually celebrated by Jewish people, it’s something that is important to both groups because it’s one of the formative stories of faith. It’s the start of an important journey of freedom, unity, faith and individuality for the Israelites. It also began many traditions that are still in practice today as part of the present-day Passover celebration. But Passover is about more than just eating Matzo, participating in the Seder and other present-day practices, the focus should be on the freedom that was so important and gained through this event so many years ago. If that first Passover hadn’t happened, as tragic as it was for some people, our world today would look very different. Yes, the Israelites were in slavery for a reason God planned, and He rescued them for other reasons. But like any other rescue, it’s important to take the gift that was handed to them (and down through the centuries to us) and not only honor God with our lives, but live the lives that we’re able to live because we’ve been given that freedom.
The First Fruits aspect of the Passover celebration is another important part of this story, because it’s a reminder to thank God for the ways He continues to provide for us. In this modern age we just go to the grocery store and find food, and even if we can’t find fresh there’s usually frozen that’s almost just as good. But for many people in the early days of Passover and for many people around the world they’re completely dependent on having good growth and being able to feed their families. Even if the rest of us wouldn’t notice initially, eventually our food supply at the stores would run low as well. We could survive without many things we take for granted today, but we’re still just as dependent on food and water as the Israelites were back then.
This week whether you’re Jewish or not I encourage you to take time to be thankful for the freedom and food you have. Many people have sacrificed in one way or another to bring us to this point and mother nature has continued to provide for us even if we haven’t taken such good care of her. And if you find an opportunity to share a little blessing with someone else this week I would encourage you to do that as well.