I attended a Passover Seder on Monday. Each guest read from the Haggadah, this “telling” of history, of deliverance from slavery … God makes a way for his people. We took turns reading, and there were songs, and we dipped parsley in salted water. I was sitting at the table with people I loved and people I had just met. Under each plate, the hostess had placed a card with a word written upon it and a question. Through these words under plates, we would all learn about each other. My word was hallel. A brief definition followed: praise, to praise and give thanks to God.
This holy week especially causes me to slow and consider the cross–scripture in Leviticus of the delights of obedience, the penalty and punishment of sin, of God making a way and repentance:
“But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:45 (NIV)
Other psalms are directly associated with hallel, but I think of praise as I read Psalm 33. Sing, make music, shout for joy. It’s all there. God scoops and breathes and speaks and he’s a great artist, lover, creator and king.
Earth is drenched in God’s affectionate satisfaction. (from Ps 33:4-5, The Message)
Opening lines of Titus and hope: the knowledge of truth that leads to godliness–a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light …
These words were written after a crucifixion, and yet they lead me straight to it.
On Monday, I was sitting at a Passover table, thinking of my Lord as he reclined and remembered. Later he’d be led to a cross … the payment of sin, the sacrifice, the final making of a way out of slavery.
On this side of time and the cross, I can celebrate his love, knowing as he said that it is finished–God doesn’t lie.
We’re depending on God; he’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got— that’s what we’re depending on. (Ps 33:20-22, The Message)
Brimming with joy and praise.