God loves a good party — the kinda party that is filled with laughter and love, food and joy. He established seven feasts (Leviticus 23) for the Israelites to cherish on their calendar. Among those was Passover, a ceremonial meal that recounts how the blood of a sacrificial lamb protected them while they were slaves in Egypt from the death of the firstborn.
More than 12 centuries later, Jesus was celebrating Passover with his disciples when he tied that historical event to what he would do on the cross as the Lamb of God. He instructed the disciples to remember his sacrifice in taking bread and wine, which we now know as communion (Mark 14:22-23).
Celebrations remember because we forget. They mark beginnings, milestones and accomplishments so that we can revel in the hope and glory that flows from Jesus’ work in our lives. They allow us a moment to taste the sweetness of victory on the other side what was hard. And they bring us together.
God’s seven feasts offered the Israelites a steady rhythm of remembering and rest — in community. Yet he understands our individual journeys because he created the processes of learning, growing and healing. Paul tells us, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).” And until then, he writes, “Rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:6).”
Lord Jesus, thank you for allowing us to gather here together today to celebrate one another and to remember how far we’ve come. We thank you for every small step and giant leap, for you see them all. We ask for a blessing on the process, that we may draw from the well of your patience and your hope. What a good Father we have to give us these moments to remind us of his love and faithfulness and his joy in us. Thank you for the hospitality we are enjoying and the service of your followers who made this day possible. For you have been in every detail. Amen.