Thursday, March 20, 2008

The top and the sides of the doorframes

I'm preaching at our church's Maundy Thursday service this evening. My talk is mostly an experiential retelling of the washing of the disciples' feet, as it will lead directly into a footwashing service. But I'm also lifting out one particular detail from the Old Testament lectionary reading in Exodus 12 about the Passover. There, in Ex. 12:7, it says that "They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it" (NRSV). This is somewhat easier to visualize in the TNIV: "Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs."

Try this. Stand at a doorway and imagine that you are holding a cloth dipped in blood. Then swab the top of the doorframe first, and then the sides, the right and then the left. The top, and then the sides. This should make the sign of the cross.

I can't remember where I first heard this, but I find it to be a fascinating connection. Way back at the first Passover, centuries before the institution of Roman crucifixion, the blood of the lamb was being spread on doorframes in a cross-like gesture. That's just amazing. Like the love of God in Christ. Amazing love, how can it be?

May this Holy Week lead you on a sacred journey to the cross of Christ, and then to the empty tomb and beyond.

1 comment:

L.L. Barkat said...

And, for the first time, as you asked me to envision myself doing this, I also noticed that the blood would probably drip down... on my face, my arms and shoulders.