When I think of my home church, I remember Homecoming Sunday. Once a year, the whole congregation gathered for a potluck meal on the grounds. I remember the feel of that blue blanket my mother brought for me to sit on and the soft grass beneath my fingertips. I still hear the sounds of children playing and parents chatting. I recall the taste of southern casseroles and scrumptious deserts piled high on my plate. The memory of this ritual has lingered for years.
This Exodus passage introduces us to God’s promise to pass over Israel and protect the people. It repeats the phrase the whole congregation of Israel (v. 3) because Israel is a full and whole community. Israel is a family of faith that God promises to protect as a whole entity. For generations, families have gathered to remember the Passover event by joining together with their neighbors and congregations to celebrate a powerful God and the community that God creates.
God never stops creating unique faith communities and placing us in them. Their rituals become holy to us because they help us remember that it’s God’s idea for us to be family to each other.
I remember our potluck lunches at church so clearly because they represented the deep truth that faith is meant to be lived out together. Whether we are celebrating God’s gift of freedom or wandering through the wilderness, we learn how to care for each other by being part of a community. And when we live as a family and work together for good, we will reach the promised land.
What groups do you participate in? Why do you think God placed you in those particular communities?
Creator God, we see your power in the beauty of the communities in which we live. Help us to remember and honor you by caring for them. Amen.