“…so that all the days of your life you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 16:3
“Rejoice before the Lord your God…” Deuteronomy 16:11
Two words contain important ideas for the life of faith. They are “remember” and “rejoice.” Two of the great Old Testament festivals in the Jewish calendar year centered around these words.
The great festival of the Jewish year was the Passover. The key idea in this festival was to remember. The people gathered in Jerusalem, ate a lamb that had been sacrificed, and retold the story of their exodus from Egypt. It served to help people remember this significant event in their nation’s history. How long were people to remember it? All the days of their lives! As long as they lived, they were never to forget what great thing God had done for them.
We also have a ceremony today that reminds us of our deliverance, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. It helps us remember what God did for us in Christ. And how long should we remember this? All the days of our lives. There should never be a time when we forget. Therefore God has given us the sacrament to help Christians, thoughout history, not forget.
Remembering was not the only part of God’s plan for the nation’s life in the Old Testament. They were also to rejoice and give thanks for what God had done. There was a ceremony for this also. It was the Feast of Weeks that began 50 days after the Passover. It began on the day of Pentecost. The people gathered, brought their first fruits, and celebrated with their family and friends. They gave thanks for the harvest and enjoyed the fruits of it. They remembered God’s bounties.
We too need to rejoice and give thanks. Paul reminds the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). The message of Easter reminds us that there is great reason to celebrate and rejoice! God has done great things for us. That Pentecost marks the beginnings of the church reinforces this message. God has blessed us remarkably. We ought to always give thanks.
Our life of faith should be one of remembering and rejoicing. If we only remember but never rejoice, we may become an “unhappy” Christian. If we rejoice but never remember, we chance losing the basis for our joy and being emotionally blown about by various circumstances. Remembering and rejoicing are both important parts of our lives of faith. Which of these do you need to do better?
With Warm Regards,