Preparing for Action

Exodus 12:1-14

It’s ritual. I hate ritual. I’m tempted to pass over the description of the Passover ritual in Exodus twelve. Repetitious religious acts are often used to reinforce institutional authority and corral us into compliance. Yet, what God commands Moses in Passover, and what we continue with frequent communion, is meant to free us for rebellion. Passover is like the church meetings held before the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When we remember, we remember that once we were slaves and now we are free.


The ritual begins with a sacrificial lamb. The Passover story really begins with innocent children being thrown into the Nile. We tell again how little baby Moses rode along in the wicker basket of God’s grace until the time was right for him to stand before Pharaoh’s court. We speak of people like Rosa Parks. We tell how a young minister, new to the Montgomery area, was called out to lead his people. We recall how Martin Luther King was slaughtered like an unblemished lamb.


As Christians, the blood of every contemporary sacrificial lamb, points us back to the great sacrifice of Christ on the cross. We take a brush and dip it into the blood. We mark our doorways and make a red, red, arch for us to pass under. We do the ritual in our homes. Remembering that if we courageously act for the transformation of our community, the judgement of God’s angel of death, will pass over us. We look for protection in our ritual, our communion service, so that we might have the strength to act for freedom in the coming day.


The ritual isn’t done at church, or within the walls of the institution. People gather for passover in their own homes. Fathers and mothers, without theological training, stumble through the litany of what happened and how it is relevant to us. This is where religion gets dangerous. When ordinary folk say, “God took me with a mighty hand. God led me to walk the walk of freedom.”


What does it mean for the people of your community to eat communion with their loins girded and their sandals on? What are the the structures of oppression that your people need to stand up to? How can this passover transform your neighborhood?

Martin Luther King Jr. outlines boycott strategies at a church meeting
Pentecost 18