Exodus 23:14: Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me.
Israel’s festival calendar was organized around three feasts. In the spring, Passover celebrated the deliverance from Egypt. In the third month, they kept Pentecost, marking the firstfruits of harvest and the giving of the law. In seventh month, Booths or Ingathering commemorated Israel’s journey in the wilderness and anticipated a final harvest.
Each year, Israel retraced her past, her journey from bondage in Egypt to abundant life in the land. Each year, Israel looked to her future, when all the children of God would be harvested and gathered into Yahweh’s storehouses.
We observe a liturgical calendar because Israel did.
We do not celebrate the same feasts, but we too celebrate the great events of our redemption each year: The new Passover of Easter, the greater Pentecost when the Spirit writes the law on our hearts, the time of mission and harvest during Trinity season.
But the feasts of Israel also point to the single feast of the Lord’s Supper. Because the end has come in Jesus, all the feasts are collapsed into this meal. This is our Passover, and our weekly Pentecost. Though we are not yet at the end, we enjoy the bread and wine of the final harvest now.
And we do it every week. We don’t have to wait months and months before returning to the presence of God. As Pastor Sumper has emphasized, we draw near, nearer than Israel ever did, more frequently than Israel did, because we draw near in our Lord Jesus.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 7:24 am
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