Passover reminds all believers in God of His power and His concern for all who worship Him.
9 April 2017
Earlier today I gave my 34th "Thought for the Week" on BBC Radio Manchester. I originally planned a different topic, but last week when I started writing my talk I remembered what the date would be on the day I delivered it.
The reasons why Christians and Muslims should celebrate Passover are straightforward:
I have no prescriptions for how Christians and Muslims should celebrate Passover. The precise format of the Seder is something that Jews have developed over the centuries, but is not binding upon anybody else.
What matters is celebrating Passover as a key reminder to all believers of God's deep love for all those who worship Him.
Christians and Muslims should emphasise what they are, namely believers in God, rather than focusing on what they are not, namely adherents of Judaism, which is simply one way of being a believer.
Tomorrow evening is the start of Passover. For over 3,000 years, at Passover, Jews have remembered how God freed them from slavery in Egypt.
I always find the Seder, the meal at the start of Passover, immensely moving. Especially when the youngest child asks the four questions. They begin with: “Why is this night different from all other nights?”
The story of the Exodus from Egypt, and God granting the Law, the Ten Commandments, at Mount Sinai, is fundamental to Judaism.
However, Passover and the Exodus from Egypt is not just a story for 14 million Jews. It also matters to over 2 billion Christians.
Remember that Jesus was a practicing Jew, and celebrated Passover all his life. The Gospels make it clear what we now call the Last Supper was a Passover Seder.
The story of the Exodus from Egypt also matters to over 1.5 billion Muslims. The Quran tells us the story of God parting the Red Sea for Moses, and then drowning the Egyptians behind the Israelites.
A few months ago, I counted how many times some people are named in the Quran. The person mentioned the most, 136 times, is Moses. Second comes Abraham, 72 times, and third is Jesus, 25 times. In comparison, the Prophet Muhammad is only named 12 times.
The key message is that what Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have in common is far greater than the theological differences that divide them.
Sadly, religious people, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, have always had the bad habit of dividing into splinter groups, often excommunicating each other.
We can choose to get rid of that attitude.