12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
So begins the institution, the codifying of the first Passover- the connection of specific food, unleavened bread with a specific moment in the history and institution of a faith, the Jewish faith. This sacred meal eaten in memory of God’s promise to free these particular people and mark them as God’s own, begins with Moses’ instruction to bake bread. This bread is baked but they are not to add yeast, thus it is not given time to rise, and it cooks faster, as they must leave for this journey out of Egypt quickly. The bread baked is unleavened, cooked and ready in 18 minutes. They had eighteen minutes to mix, roll out and bake the unleavened bread, matzo. It is ready for the journey, their last night of bondage marked with a quick meal.
In the night, God struck down the first born of all the Egyptians and ‘passed over’ the Israelites. They are truly free, they must leave Egypt to travel to the promised land. To commemorate this occasion, God’s promise of freedom, marking as God’s people , a new beginning in Israel and God’s command to tell this story to the next generations, it is told through a meal, The Passover meal, Sedar. The unleavened bread is one element of this meal to savor and reflect in eating together. We recall the power of God’s promises in our own faith as Jesus gathered his disciples for a meal, too but that is another story.
Gracious and Loving God, in such simple ingredients, flour, water, a little salt we mix the sacred memory of your promises. Promises to our ancestors in faith, those who stepped out in the twilight of the first Passover and begun the journey as your people, we remember and give thanks. In food like unleaven bread we hold the promise of your presence, always, Amen.