In Exodus 12:7-13, Moses says,
“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
Moses here is describing the Lord’s instructions to Israel on the eve of their redemption from slavery. The Lord had worked miracles in Egypt which had hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh refused to let Israel go. So God had one final judgement. He would kill all the first born from least to greatest in the land of Egypt except where blood was on the doorpost. This blood servers as a substitute for the first born inside each home where it was painted onto the door frame.
To the Romans, Paul says,
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (3:21-26)
Notice verse twenty-five, “[Jesus] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” In the new covenant, God put forth Jesus as the propitiation for the sins of his people and where his blood is painted onto our hearts, there is no final death. The old covenant meal is replaced with the new covenant meal, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. All of that sets the stage for my main point.
During this judgement in Exodus twelve, families were instructed to cook and eat the sacrifice with their bags packed and sandals on. An odd detail to include. An odd detail to command. Why would they need to pack their bags and have their sandals on? The judgement and meal prepared them to be redeemed. It was after they had eaten they were brought from death to life.
How does this fit within the liturgy of our church? When we eat the covenant meal at my church, we end with a hymn, a benediction (a blessing from God), and our pastor sends out into our city on mission. We see from the earliest rehearsals of the gospel, God redeems us to send us out on mission. We, like the church before us, eat and drink with our sandals on and bags packed. We are ready to go into the world. We are sent out in the name of Jesus Christ--the one who has authority to rule all nations.
It’s interesting to note that Paul describing the armor of God includes this: “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:14-15). We are commanded to have our shoes ready with the gospel of peace.
Where there is no mission, there is no church. Where we are not foot soldiers for the gospel of peace, there is no church. The church is always ready and prepared for mission. We eat and drink in our churches in preparation for this. We taste and see then we hear the marching orders--a blessing from God and a sending out into our community.