What Marks Your Doorframe?
Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:6-9
In obedience to God’s word many Jews place a mezuzah on the doorframe of their home. A mezuzah is a piece of parchment, usually in a decorative case, inscribed with two verses from Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. The mezuzah is then affixed to the front doorframe of a home. It recalls the Exodus from Egypt, when the lamb’s blood smeared on the doorpost “identified” the Jewish homes that God passed over during the plague of the first born.
What marks your doorframe – not the doorframe of your home but the doorframe of your life? Each year Jewish families gather around a Passover meal and tell the story of how God set the people free from slavery. This is the story that shapes their identity. A mezuzah is a daily reminder and a public declaration of that same identity. What stories mark the doorframe of your life, informing your sense of identity? Many of our stories reside deep within us. We may not even be aware that we are telling ourselves these stories. Some of these stories bless us, but other stories we tell ourselves enslave us. What are your defining stories?
Like the Jewish Passover, we also have a meal to share and a story to tell, a story that shapes our identity and tells us who we are. It’s a story told in bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ. It’s a story of how God’s love revealed in Jesus has set us all free from whatever enslaves us. It’s the story of a new Exodus for all people.
We come to Holy Communion over and over again because we need to hear the story of God’s great love for us. We need to hear it repeatedly because we struggle to believe it. We too easily believe a story that says we are the accumulation of our failures, that we’re not enough, not worthy of love, not really forgiven. And that story keeps us enslaved to guilt and shame. But we worship a God who loves us and has set us free in Jesus’ death and resurrection. That’s the story that Holy Communion tells.
If you’re stuck in a story that has you enslaved, come to the table of God’s grace. Come and hear again the story that shapes us, the story that defines who we are. Let that story mark the doorframe of your life.
Jeff Marian is lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN.