And I am back…
I took a little break from blogging while in language school recently, and it was good not to have any distractions while studying each day. Both my husband and I are grateful for our Hebrew course and feel like we really advanced and gained more confidence in speaking. And we met a lot of great people and made some new friends.
We are in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the moment having Passover with dear friends. When they picked us up at the airport last evening, they brought a bouquet of white flowers. The ones in the photo above. White. My. Favorite.
This is a wonderful Russian custom… when someone comes to visit, you always bring a gift of flowers. It is so sweet and thoughtful. The white blossoms are beaming their fresh brightness in our hotel room, and I will enjoy them everyday we are here.
The beauty of pure, white flowers evokes the truth of this Scripture from Isaiah 1:18: “Come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”
Jewish people around the world are preparing for Passover. And the wonderful story of the exodus from Egypt and deliverance from the angel of death by lamb’s blood that covered the doorposts will be repeated out loud as part of the ceremony in thousands of Jewish homes and synagogues.
That message still speaks.
Each day as my husband walk around Jerusalem and the Old City, we are amazed at how sad so many people appear. And I can’t blame them–considering the great persecution before, during, after the Holocaust that drove God’s chosen people to replant and rebuild in their homeland, Israel. They live with the real and imminent threat of terrorism hour by hour. They endure constant threat of war from their surrounding neighbors, and they have few allies. It seems the list gets smaller and smaller each day. It makes me sad too.
While walking the streets of Jerusalem, I often remember the beautiful and poignant words from the poem penned by Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus.”
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
That is exactly how the broken Jewish people came to the shores of Israel after World War II, and that is how thousands of Jews and others came to the USA at various times. It seems that many peoples globally have had various exodus and deliverance stories because of evil oppressors throughout history, and it is generous and loving that there have been safe havens for the “teeming masses yearning to breathe free.” These have been physical redemptions of life and liberty.
But there is a spiritual redemption that all mankind yearns for. I recently had a Jewish woman explain to me that “… although she hated all things Christian” she had been moved to tears at the words of a chorale from a Bach piece that she heard performance in Israel recently. They went something like this, “The blood of Christ cleanses us and prepares us for death.”
A wise Jewish king once said in the book of Proverbs that God has planted eternity in the heart of every man. It is relationship with God and peace at the time of death that we all seek.
The ancient story of lamb’s blood upon the doorposts that kept the angel of death away from the Jewish people is relevant today and always. And because God saved them alive, they left the bondage of an old life as slaves and emerged as free men as they sought a new country.
For all who have ears to hear in this season of Passover and fresh revelation:
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world.”
In this instance, a” lamp has not been lifted beside a golden door,” rather a blood-stained death tree…
“Knock and it shall be opened”