Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bitter Roots, Sweet Trees {Lent Day #44}

Whole Foods Cashier: {surprised} "Is that horseradish?  That's a lot of horseradish!"

Me: {laughing} "Yes, it IS horseradish.  And it IS a lot!

Whole Foods Cashier: "Do you mind if I ask what you are going to do with all of that horseradish?"

I quickly explained that I was making 15 Seder Plates for a Passover celebration this week, and that some day soon I would be crying in my kitchen while peeling and grating all of that horseradish!

And today was that day.  Oh, wow.  It hurts to breathe.  I forget just how strong and painful that sensation is. It's much worse than an onion.  The tears and sore throat are totally unavoidable.

But now it's all sealed up in a plastic container, and thankfully, the stinging sensation in my sinuses is dissipating.

We'll all eat a couple of bites of raw, grated horseradish tonight at our Passover meal in order to remember the bitterness of the Israelites slavery in Egypt.  Here's what the Messianic Passover Haggadah reads just prior to the eating of the horseradish:

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but on Passover we eat only maror, bitter herbs.  As sweet as our lives are today, let us still remember how bitter life was for the children of Israel in the land of Egypt.
"...so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.  They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields." (Exodus 1:12-14)
 The bitter herbs are called "The Maror."  Remember Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi?  Remember how she asked to be called "Mara" and not "Naomi" anymore?  It was because she was "bitter" over the death of her husband and sons.  The Hebrew word for "bitter" is "maror."

The Israelites lived bitter lives of toil due to their enslavement in Egypt. Naomi grieved bitterly over the curse of death experienced in her immediate family.  Slavery and death are the results of sin ~ the very bitter results.

But the "afikomen" and the wine, or juice is sweet.

At the end of the Seder meal, the striped, pierced "afikomen" matzah will be hidden, found by children, and then ransomed back in order to be eaten for dessert.  Then the cup of redemption and the cup of praise will be lifted and all in unison we will say...

Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

It will be like when those freed Israelite slaves began complaining that the only water to drink in the desert was bitter.  They even had thoughts of returning to Egypt and slavery where at least the water was good and the food was rich, but Moses cried out to God for help, and God showed him a tree.

When Moses threw the tree into the water, it became sweet. It took away the bitterness. It was a sign of things to come.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law (death, slavery), having become a curse for us - for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"... (Galations 3: 13)

Tasting of the horseradish-bitter curse of sin, death, and slavery tonight in order to better taste the sweetness of the Tree.

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