Shielded by Blood

If the lead is going to be flying, I want the thickest flak jacket money can buy. If missiles are on the way, I want to climb into the deepest bunker man can dig. Spare no expense, leave nothing to chance. In life-and-death moments, the last thing we need is a veneer of protection that’s as fatal as it is flimsy.

Yet there stands Moses, telling us Israelites to hide from the swooping, sword-wielding angel of death shielded only by a swath of lamb’s blood painted on the doorposts of our houses. It’s like asking us to wear a crimson T-shirt to shield us from the atom bomb.

Yet he does. Select a year-old lamb, keep it four days, sacrifice it at twilight, roast and eat its meat, and paint the doorposts and lintels of your home with its blood. “And I,” says God, “I will see the blood and I will pass over your homes when I pass through the streets of Egypt, leaving in my wake dead firstborn sons who were not protected by the blood of the lamb.”

@@God and blood, they go hand-in-glove.@@ Behold the seemingly foolish ways of our wise God. He bids us embrace what appears impossible: that blood alone is our defense, that blood alone saves us from destruction, that the blood of a lamb is more than enough.

For it is. It is when Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, is selected, kept 33 years, sacrificed in darkness, roasted upon the cross, and his blood painted by the brush of the chalice upon our lips and heart and soul. For Christ our Passover is sacrificed. The Lord passes over us. We are spared by the blood of the Lamb.

The Supper of our Lord is the new and better Passover. We eat the body of this Lamb and his blood courses through our veins. Outside this blood is sure and certain death; covered by this blood is sure and certain life. We are delivered from the Egypt of our slavery to sin. We are led forth in freedom to journey to the Promised Land above. We keep the feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

*This reflection is part of a series of meditations on hymns that I presented at the “Day of Singing Boldly” at St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, Nebraska.