Sounding the Shofar: Easter Thoughts During this Traumatic Pandemic
Time to sound the shofar, let breath rise this Easter out from dark times to the Light of the world! Blow the battle sounds of alert against the oppression attacking in invisible, viral ways. Let’s lift up our call to God who inclines his ear towards us, has proven to be on our side, and is full of unfathomable compassion. He is the giver of life & life abundant, not the author of what seeks to steal, kill, and harm us.
There are so many symbolic and meaningful aspects to the blowing of the shofar from Jewish history. I’m just thinking of some of them today during this Easter time, as trauma is reverberating globally.
About how the ram (male sheep with horns) is known to protect the other sheep, and in biblical times was often the first chosen to be sacrificed ceremonially. It was Jesus alone who chose (& could qualify) to be the sacrificial ram, the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world – providing The Way for all to be delivered. The Trinity and earth shook as the agony of that incomparable work was given to the world. Shofars were typically made from the horn of rams, and even Christians can blow them today to proclaim remembrance of the Messiah’s victory over sin and death.
His holy of holy sacrifice was spent out that we might experience relationship with the Lord both now & forever. The gift of such companionship is so important to grasp during this pandemic crisis. Sometimes confusing theologies can cloud the beauty of that gift though. For example, my understanding of the (often oversimplified interpretations) of verses referring to how ‘in our weakness God is strong,’ or ‘His power made perfect in weakness’ - is not hat hardship is itself what should be glorified, and certainly not that God needs or wants to weaken us so that He can better display his power! Such thinking is insulting to the sacrifice of our crucified and resurrected Savior – what He did was enough! The truth is that we are always vulnerable and weak in many ways as human beings, and God is not. Often during times of crisis we ‘feel’ that truth more, but it is not ‘new.’ There is an on-going invitation for us to call out to and lean upon the strength, power, relational presence of our loving God. When we are more ‘aware’ of our need we may be more likely to do so, but the need is not new.
No one is more eager to have us experience His presence in our aloneness - than God. The Lord longs to share more of His heart with us, and for us to experience how we are seen, heard, listened to, understood, and adored by the One who made us for His love. When we or others are in times of crisis, it’s not then that we should add extra expectations on ourselves or others, and certainly not when it helps to think God is orchestrating specific harm on the world He already died & rose to save. We can sound the shofar from our hearts as prayer for those suffering and/or serving on the frontlines with great confidence that our triumphant God cares. Also, If our schedules/plates happen to be more cleared at this quarantine time, we can enjoy the open invitation to the table right ‘in the presence of all against us’ happening around us. At that table God leans in, wants to hear our raw intimate emotions, and to share His own with us. There we can just ‘be’, rest soaking up our value that is not based upon our ‘works’, but His affection for us. He did the work that we might find our security in His specific love.
Yeshua, being In very nature God, humbled himself to be cursed & crucified, he breathed life like we vulnerable created humans do. Up to his last breath lifted to heaven, when Yeshua committed his spirit to the Father, He was making our way out from death into everlasting life with Him. Breath blown in the shofar at one small end rises out from the bent horn into the wide opening at the other side – reminiscent to me of the open tomb. We will rise with Christ at the other end of this life lived. Whether actually or figuratively, we can sound the shofar, turn our spirits and life-songs to acknowledge, lean-into, sigh, cry, rest, restore, receive, listen, just ‘be’ with the One always who strove to His last breath on earth to have us by His side in this world that still has troubles - by his side for forever…
What would your painting look like?
This picture represents me just ‘being’ in the presence of God’s love despite life’s storms…
What helps you confidently turn to restore, rest, receive, release (like sounding a shofar), or just ‘be’ with the loving presence of Christ despite the surrounding storms?