Lent: Day 40

Day 40: Sesame Street Seder

Today is Maunday Thursday, the conclusion of Lent, and the embarking of the journey to the cross.  Today we add to Lent the remembrance of Passover, of the meal that Jesus shared with His disciples, the bread and the wine, the body and the blood.

This evening, I plan on putting together a small Seder for my family.  The meal remembers the story of Passover, how God rescued His people from Egypt through Moses and brought them to the promised land.  Each food of the meal has meaning and purpose.   A roasted lamb shank bone, the Z’roa, is the culmination of the meal, symbolizing the lamb that the Jews sacrificed as the special Passover offering when the Temple stood in Jerusalem.  Most Jews celebrate this feast, and as Christians, it is an important part of our story as well.  Jesus is the final passover lamb that was sacrificed once and for all.  We have no need to make further sacrifices to our God.  Jesus paid the ultimate price.

This morning as I sat down to write, ironically, I overheard Sesame Street explain a Seder Meal.  Grover was on the hunt for horseradish.  It’s the maror, or bitter herb that represents the bitterness of the Israelites slavery in Egypt.  He was looking in all the wrong places, like a horse stall, for example.  It had to be explained to Grover that horseradish is a root vegetable that grows underground.  It would have to be dug up.

I often look in all the wrong places for the source of my bitterness.  My slavery, my sin, my discontent–I think it might come from my vocation, or lack thereof.  I sometimes blame finances or lack of opportunities.  I look to others, my spouse and my kids, as the reason I am chewing on potent bitterness.  But the fact is that I have to get on my knees and get a little dirty to dig it up.

Usually, the bitterness that I live with is found deep in my heart of hearts.  It is usually grounded in an untruth about God and His sovereignty and provision.  It is usually rooted in a distrust of God and His love for me and His promises.  I don’t see my circumstances as part of a larger divine plan.  Even the Israelites’ captivity in Egypt was purposeful.  It was a part of a bigger plan, a greater story…one that pointed to freedom, one that whispered the name of Jesus.

Did you know, in the middle ages, horseradish had medicinal purposes?  When I am on my knees in prayer, digging up roots of bitterness, I usually find that identifying my erroneous view of God has great healing qualities.  Bitterness is replaced with contentment, even joy, because what is false is replaced with the sweetness of truth.  And, the name of Jesus is usually whispered into the dark places of my heart.

I am grateful for this “adding to Lent” journey.  I have noticed blessings that, had it not been for Lent, would have gone unnoticed.  The great redemptive power of Jesus, to replace all bitterness and death with sweetness, beauty, and life–this is what I long for.  This is what I search for daily: His pulling out of the dirt that which is intended for my good.

Happy Digging 🙂

“O Lord, by these things men live,
and in all these is the life of my spirit.
Oh restore me to health and make me live!
Behold, it was for my welfare
that I had great bitterness;
but in love you have delivered my life
from the pit of destruction,
for you have cast all my sins
behind your back.”

Isaiah 38:16-18