It’s appropriate that this is being posted on St. Patrick’s Day, a “holiday” that is celebrated for all the wrong reasons. Of course, the word “holiday” itself is derived from the idea of a “holy day.” God instituted holy feasts and celebrations for the purpose of remembrance, so that we would integrate the patterns and rhythms of His kingdom into our daily lives. In Exodus 13, God institutes the Feast of Unleavened Bread and commands the nation of Israel to integrate into their lives a rhythm of sacrifice and redemption, so that they will not forget what the Lord has done for them. What God is saying is that He is not satisfied being someone that Israel simply believes in, or someone that Israel runs to in times of trouble. People will say, “I believe in God,” as if that is enough. Yet the Bible says that even the demons believe in God – in fact, they shudder in His presence (James 2:19) – but they do not know Him. God longs to be known by us, His creation.
Through the establishment of the Passover (Exodus 12:1-13) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 13:3-16) as an annual tradition, God is saying that He is to be a part of His people’s everyday lives. There will be other feasts and festivals throughout the year that will highlight aspects of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. He does not want His people to forget what He has done for them and what He is doing for them, not because He is on some ego trip, but rather because He knows it will not go well for them when they forget Him and begin to follow the way that “seems right” to man. (Proverbs 14:12)
What patterns and traditions are woven into the fabric of your life that help you to stay focused on the priorities of His kingdom?
For more on the life of Patrick and the missional significance of his ministry, check out The Real Patrick and St. Patrick: One of the Greatest Missionaries Who Ever Lived.