Passover lessons

Passover began Monday night. For the first time this year, I celebrated the first night of Passover with a seder supper with friends. Among our bible study, I was the most familiar with the Jewish traditions, so the responsibility fell on me to get the order of service for the evening put together. I wasn't exactly sure what all that entailed, but I spent Sunday afternoon figuring it out (for a Monday meal. Yes, I procrastinate sometimes) The biggest takeaway for me was about food, go figure. I'm posting it on this blog instead of my food blog because it's more 'reflection' and less 'recipe'.

The idea of "leaven" (yeast) being like sin is all over the Old and New testaments. I had heard the parables and analogies, but I never really "got it". I mean, I understand how yeast works- little microorganisms that make bread rise- but never understood how that was like "sin". Something in the haggadah made it click.

Nowadays, we buy yeast in little packets, or in jars- dried yeast flakes that "come alive" when added to warm water. Once upon a time, there was no yeast packets. All bread was the sourdough variety- where, to keep the yeast alive, a bit of the old dough (the sponge) is added to the new dough, to transfer the yeast. The yeast from the old dough grows into the new dough, making the new loaf rise.

This passing-down from the old dough to the new dough, and the new dough being "contaminated" with the same strain of yeast that every sourdough bread preceding it had- this is like the sin nature being passed down generation to generation. To be human is to have a sin nature. To be "bread" is to have this yeast. The yeast works through the whole dough, and is consumed by it.

For Passover, observant Jews rid their house of all bread and grain, chametz. This isn't just simply eating through that last loaf before Passover rolls around, this is wholly and completely ridding the house of everything with grain in it- the frozen pizza in the freezer, the crumbs under the counter, and, for some, even the sodas that contain corn syrup, a derivative of corn, a grain. (This year, Josh and I actually picked up some kosher-for-Passover Coke at Costco sweetened with sugar, and it is good!)  All that to say, they are serious about getting leaven out of their homes. It is consumed, thrown away, burned, and sold, and, for a week, they live without leaven.

Reading about the extremes and rules followed to get leaven out of these homes, it made me think- why don't I go after sin in my life with such ferocity? Why don't I sweep under the counters of my life and find every crumb and cupcake and frozen breaded chicken nugget and get it out? It's terribly inconvenient, and even painful, to do a search like that. Bread is much more convenient than matzah. And yet. God is that serious about sin. Every little crumb matters.

Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. - 1 Cor 5:6-8

And Jesus? He was without leaven - sin- and he was striped and pierced, just like pieces of matzo. This set-apart food reminds me of who I should be, and who my Savior is.

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