Tuesday, July 7, 2009

God Calls People to Remember Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending July 12, 2009

Purpose: To experience the power of sacred memory expressed in ritual in shaping our life together as God's people.

Scripture Text: Deuteronomy 16:1-8 (NRSV)

Deuteronomy 16:1-8 NRSV
(1)Observe the month of Abib by keeping the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.(2)You shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the Lord your God, from the flock and the herd, at the place that the Lord will choose as a dwelling for his name. (3)You must not eat w
ith it anything leavened. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it—the bread of affliction—because you came out of the land of Egypt in great haste, so that all the days of your life you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt. (4)No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days; and none of the meat of what you slaughter on the evening of the first day shall remain until morning.(5)You are not permitted to offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you. (6)But at the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name, only there shall you offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, the time of day when you departed from Egypt. (7)You shall cook it and eat it at the place that the Lord your God will choose; the next morning you may go back to your tents. (8)For six days you shall continue to eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly for the Lord your God, when you shall do no work.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

Memories are an important part of life, not just our spiritual life, but our family life as well. In this passage God is re-teaching the meaning of Passover and how he wants His people to celebrate and remember it.

In our house there are special holidays that we celebrate as a family; those are primarily Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. By far the most memorable is always our Christmas Eve celebration. Because of what has happened in the past, and what happens each year it has become a very special holiday for our family. We no longer have all the excitement that comes from young children or grandchildren, nor is it all about the presents anymore. Now it is about remembering when our children and grandchildren were much younger, and enjoying the food and sharing stories of Christmas past. The house is always decorated like it was many years ago, th
e food consists of at least one special dish for each individual, maybe a cookie, a pudding, cake, shrimp, or chocolate fountain, or fondue. Everyone is looking forward to their special annual treat. But the thing that makes it so special is that in a family, which is now about twenty or so people, is this is one time when pettiness and sniping cease, and we truly enjoy the moment, maybe it is because of the Christmas spirit, that everyone makes a special effort to tolerate and enjoy a family get- together. It normally ends with a midnight Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church, not everyone can make that, but those that do enjoy that time of remembering.

I am convinced no matter how old my children and grandchildren get, the Christmas eve celebration will always be remembered.

That is sort of what God wanted from the people He had called out of Egypt. He wanted them to remember that night
some forty years prior when He brought them out of slavery and into a promised land. In the Christian world today probably Passion Week, would be similar to the Passover celebration. We begin with Palm Sunday, and go through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter morning. Each service has special meaning, and gives us the opportunity to remember what Christ went through and the ultimate victory that was achieved on that glorious resurrection morning. We are also called to remember through Communion services, baptismal remembrances, and confirmation services.

When one studies the Old Testament and the different Holy days that God commanded for His people, you can really get a sense that God knew His creation was going to need times of celebration. He established three very important Holy days. In addition to the Passover, He established the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles; three distinct Holy days to mark the passing of time with God's saving work. God's creation needs time to pause and reflect, relax, and enjoy the presence of God in their lives. We must also continue to celebrate the rituals that have been designed for each of the special days we set aside to remember. The rituals are what
separates us from the rest of the world, and gives testimony that we worship the Creator God, the Loving God, and the Redeeming God.

Are there old rituals you would like to restore, or new rituals you would like to see created? Why are rituals so important t
o our faith community?

Please visit "The Prayer". The slide show was sent to me by a friend, to share on my website and blog. Both the photos and the words are beautiful and truly moving. Enjoy!

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