Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Advent readings 2021 : Day 18


In which the exiles mark the Passover


Genesis 7:1-5

And the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, for it is you I have seen righteous before Me in this generation. Of every clean animal take you seven pairs, each with its mate, and of every animal that is not clean, one pair, each with its mate. Of the fowl of the heavens as well seven pairs, male and female, to keep seed alive all over the earth. For in seven days’ time I will make it rain on the earth forty days and forty nights and I will wipe out from the face of the earth all existing things that I have made.” And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.


Ezekiel 45:18, 21-24

Thus said the Master, the LORD: “In the first month, on the first of the month, you shall take an unblemished bull from the heard and purify the sanctuary.

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the Passover, a festival of seven days. Flatbread shall be eaten. And the prince shall do for himself and for all the people of the land an offense-offering bull. And the seven days of the festival he shall do a burnt offering to the LORD, seven unblemished bulls and seven unblemished rams each day of the seven days and an offense-offering of a he-goat each day. And a grain offering, an ephah for each bull and an ephah for each ram he shall do, and oil, a hin for each ephah…”


Noah is not just a model for the survival of biodiversity, fitting though that may be for our own time of climate crisis. He is instructed to take more of the animals that will be at the heart of the sacrificial system at the heart of the day-to-day life of the future Temple and the annual cycle of pilgrim festivals held there.

This new ark, this Temple, that the exiles are to build is to be a house of intercession and of remembrance. A place where confession is made, and stories are told, and food is shared—actual food, for the body—and whereby, through these practices, we are sustained as a priestly people interceding for the needs of the world. What do these practices look like for you, in your life?


Biblical texts: Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary


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