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The western churches are celebrating the beginning of Easter season, while the Orthodox Church marks the beginning of Holy Week with Palm Sunday, a matter of differing calendars. At the same time, Jews have been marking Passover, which Christians believe to be both a historic event and a prefigurement of the events commemorated in the highest holy days in the Christian faith. While we are constrained by government, for the first time in modern history, from gathering together in fulfillment of religious obligations and in communal affirmation of our faith, congregations are still celebrating the ancient truths, perhaps more than ever, as “virtual” attendance anecdotally exceeds the usual physical attendance. Our current circumstances may make us reflect more closely on the habitual rituals and readings.
Recall that the first Passover found families sheltering in place in their homes. On the instruction of their leaders, each family had selected a lamb, killed it, painting the doorposts and the lintel, the cross-member framing the top of the doorway, with the lamb’s blood. The family was eating the roasted lamb with their traveling clothes on, ready to move out when ordered, after the Angel of Death had passed them by.*