Where’s the Boundary?
Heavenly Father, today I want to walk with You, talk to You, listen to You, and enjoy You.
Read Exodus 12:43-51
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We belong to each other because we belong to Jesus Christ. Think of the diversity of people who are a part of your church fellowship, bound together by love and obedience to the Lord Jesus.
The crowd that set out from Egypt on Passover night was mixed (38). At its core were the clans that traced their ancestry back to Jacob, but many others, perhaps Semitic people with similar language and culture, felt they belonged with the Israelites or were similarly suffering in Egypt and glad of the chance to escape. Down the centuries this pattern would continue. Some would be drawn to faith in the God of Israel. Some would be attracted to the social and economic life of its people. And so the questions would arise: what are the boundaries of the worshiping congregation? Who should be allowed to eat the Passover lambs?
At first sight the boundary appears very exclusive–“No foreigner may eat it” (43)–but a closer look reveals it to be highly inclusive. Any family that settles in among the community, whatever their background or wherever they were born, may choose to join it, though they must take on the covenant sign given to Abraham–circumcision for all the males in the household (48; Gen. 17:7-14). The community is willing to expand and welcome newcomers, but there is a difference between those who are just passing through, looking in for a while from the outside, and those who wish to belong.
The distinction becomes clearer as we notice in verses 46 and 47 that celebrating the Passover is associated with unity. The carcass of each lamb is to remain whole, each family is to remain in one house and the whole community is to celebrate it on the same night. In the Passover they recall and act out the story of that night in Egypt. For each new generation or each new arrival the historical story becomes their story. God has saved them too.
Give thanks for people and activities that have made you feel welcome as a member of Christ’s body. Are there any lessons here about drawing boundaries around the activities of your church, or Christian groups that you belong to?
Thank You, God, for the Church–for those who show me the face of Christ, for worship that enriches and challenges, and for the gifting You have given Your people. Renew and prosper Your Church.