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Time for a Spring Clean

feather duster... in the southern hemisphere anyway.

But as the weather turns decidedly Fall-en here, I'm still thinking about Spring cleaning.  The reason being - I've just preached on Exodus 12 tonight.  In preparation I was thinking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread (I speak about it some more in my 1 Corinthians 5 sermon).

Basically the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins with Passover and then continues with the purging of yeast from Israelite households. (see e.g. Exodus 12:15) What's wrong with yeast you might ask?  Yeast kept a person in slavery.  If, when the other Israelites were eating and fleeing in haste, you're waiting for your bread to rise, it's clear where your heart is.  (Ex 12:33-34)  You're not really committed to the LORD's deliverance.  You'd rather live it up in Egypt.

So then every year after Passover, the Israelites were to purge their households of any sign of this compromise.  It was a cleansing symbolic of a spiritual spring clean (see how Paul applies it in 1 Cor 5:7-8).  Cupboard examination pointed to self-examination.  Am I really on board with the LORD's redemption, or is my heart still in Egypt?

What's interesting to me is that we have a Christian festival of self-examination.  It's called Lent.  But when does it come?  Not after Passover (Easter) - but before.   Unfortunately in our calendar we have a spiritual spring clean before Jesus dies for us.  In the Hebrew calendar - Passover was the very first thing (Ex 12:2).  

In the bible, we are redeemed as helpless, enslaved sinners.  In fact nothing can happen before the LORD's salvation.  Later we consider compromise in our lives. 

So much of our church experience teaches the Lent then Easter pattern.  We clean ourselves up and then God helps those who help themselves.

Reminds me of the worst sermon I ever heard.

But maybe that's for another post...


0 thoughts on “Time for a Spring Clean

  1. Bobby Grow

    Yeah, this definitely is the wrong order, Glen . . . thanks for pointing that out. Maybe ecclesiology and soteriology having something to do with eachother after all ;-). The order makes sense in the right (wrong) theology.

  2. Rich Owen

    Interesting linkage to lent.

    In a not entirely unrelated subject, Lords Supper, what of examining ones heart before eating so as not to bring judgement on yourself?

    How would you suggest that is presented by the minister?

    Being in the Free Church world, I only ever see this presented as a solemn examination which stops short of grace...

  3. theoldadam

    (sorry for butting in, Rich)

    We don't put the focus on examining ourselves before the Supper because that might change the direction from 'God to us' and turn it around 180 and make it 'us to God'.

    If we believe that we aren't worthy...then we need to take it.

    If we think that maybe we're doing alright (after a self examination) then maybe we ought not partake and think about it a bit more.

  4. Rich Owen

    Yeh, it totally exposes the Zwinglian position doesn't it.

    I'm just wondering about wording really - for unitys sake - so as not to agitate against the church position (bare memorialism) but to get the eyes away from self and onto Christ and grace etc.

  5. Glen

    Hey guys,

    I preached a whole sermon on warning communicants here:

    I particularly enjoyed making the sign.

    But my warnings weren't very much like the warnings of the book of common prayer!

    This post flies a kite for placing repentance after taking communion:

    And this post is an excellent comparison by John Richardson of Luther's communion service with Cranmer's (the Anglican)

    Dave K then produced Luther's order of service which makes for a great comparison:

    But in case we think Cranmer was all bad news, I reckon basically once you've said the prayer of humble access you can tuck in:

  6. codepoke

    Beautiful points, Glen. Especially regarding Lent. I've never bought into the whole idea of Lent, but maybe I could if it were after Easter.

    On leaven, I've subscribed to a different interpretation. Your direct application of leavened bread slowing the departure is bulletproof and helpful, so count me a subscriber. Still, I think I see several applications of leaven.

    The one that speaks loudest to me is that leaven is a picture of life - the actual essence of life. In the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it symbolizes the life of Egypt and of the World. And if any single spore of sin is allowed to remain in our house, it will multiply and fill the entire place. In Christ's parable of the loaves, it's the life of the kingdom, and if allowed to grow it will fill the entire loaf. In the feast of pentacost, it's God's life that fills both the old and new testament churches.

    Thanks again for a great application.

  7. Glen

    Yes - yeast definitely speaks of spreading. And whether it's the spreading life of the kingdom or the spreading life of Egypt is a great question!

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