so, i've been pondering the cross lately.
actually, i've been pondering the exodus in Jewish culture, and the cross in Christian culture.
i'm not Jewish. but from what i can tell, the entire identity of a Jew, the starting point and culmination of cultural and religious identity, is the exodus. this moment in history where God showed up, saved, revealed himself to an entire race of individuals, claimed a people group, and honoured them through acts of incredible judgement and provision. my world religions professor in university said that it was this revelation that led her to become a Christian - the only world religion where a God appears to an entire nation at one time, not an individual in seclusion.
so, at this time of year, the Passover, every Jewish believer is remembering. they are eating a sacred meal, saying holy words, celebrating and looking ahead in faith. they have this claim, this flag waving in the annuls of time that says "this is where God saved us". it is the beginning of their year. time starts at the exodus. on this Passover night, thousands of years ago, death ravaged every home around the people of Israel, but passed them over. they were literally pushed out of the land of their slavery, laden down with gold and jewels by those who had enslaved them.
what a scene plays in my mind! screaming mothers shoving silverware in my hands, my ears filled with the countless wailings of wives and mothers and sisters and brothers who have just found a loved one dead in their home. all of the first born of an entire country. dead. their faces fallen in the meals they were eating. i smell the blood that has been smeared on my doorpost, the rest of the meal on the table. my kids are crying and my husband is packing up the cart, throwing everything we own in as fast as he can. in the distance there is fire, fire! a huge pilar that seems to carve the sky in two. people around me are whispering, it's Yahweh. our God. and He wants us to follow Him out. out of Egypt.
no more bricks. no more starving. no more hunger in my children's eyes at night. no more whips on my husband's back. no more hiding and grovelling and lying in bed afraid.
as a Christian i have my own exodus story. my own moments of God showing up, revealing himself to me, and leading me out of my land of slavery. oh, there was no pillar of fire, no plagues or parting seas. but there was a journey. a step by step walk, sometimes in areas that felt very much like a wilderness. i won't say that i've arrived in the promised land, but i am definitely not in Egypt anymore.
what am i free from? well, paralyzing fear. destructive guilt. frantic anxiety. degrading sins.
sometimes i feel free from my self, which is a deeply peaceful, full-breath-relaxed-limb trust - which can only be the creator of the universe actually showing up for me. a miracle.
for me, this Easter day, the cross is my exodus flag. my marking stone. my exclamation point. my reminder that i was bought from slavery by a Jewish man a couple thousand years ago. a man who was also God - who was at the first exodus, and knew the entire world needed another. i take this moment to look back at the land of my slavery, and remember that i am no longer there. i look around my life for the signs of God's leading. i turn my face toward His will.
i take another step.
For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kindgom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:13-14.