This is Why

“Why do we do that?” That’s a question that should be asked—and asked often. Successful businesses ask it of themselves; wanting an efficient and streamlined operation. After a visit to the local DMV or post-office, I sometimes wonder if government agencies ask this question enough. Churches and families would do well to ask themselves the question, too: “Why do we do that?”

In Exodus 12, God gives directions to Israel regarding the celebration of the Passover; the yearly rite remembering God’s mighty hand securing their release from Egyptian bondage. During the eating of the meal, ritual questions were posed by the children of the home to the father: “And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, Who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians’” (Exodus 12:26-27). The week that followed the Passover was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread—it too was a symbolic reminder of God’s saving hand. Once again, questions were posed around the dinner table by the children and the father was to respond: “On that day, tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt’” (Exodus 13:8).

The questions and answers surrounding these annual feasts presuppose a couple of things: the feasts were celebrated, the children asked questions, and the father had answers. As Christians, we don’t celebrate the Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread any more; these ceremonies having given way to the accomplished work of Christ. Nevertheless, there are habits and rites as a Christian that moms and dads should be about that still prompts questions from the kids. When a Christian life is lived, the counter-culture nature of such a life should be observed and the answer back to the child who notices becomes: “I do this because of what the Lord did for me.”

So when the kid asks: “Why do we go to church?” or “Why doesn’t dad curse out the neighbor when their dog poops in our yard?” or “Why does mom make cookies for the cranky old lady across the street?” or “Why does dad read from the Bible after dinner when he knows we really don’t like it?” or “Why does mom get up so early in the morning to pray?” Each and every time mom and dad is able to say back: “I do this because of what the Lord did for me.”

This is one of the powerful ways moms and dads pass the faith to our children; for they not only hear it on Sunday morning but they also see and experience it during the week. Sunday morning’s worship is not contradicted then, by the behavior found behind closed doors and drawn shades.

Most parents are painfully aware of their failings; this is not to add to the pile of guilt. Let us be reminded that when we fail to live to our profession of faith; our confession of sin is just as powerful. Because when we don’t hide who we are (sinners) and readily confess our shortcomings we can still say to our sons and daughters, “I do this because of what the Lord did for me.” And that explanation cannot be heard enough.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
December 6, 2012

1 comment

  1. Thank you. There is much here to reflect on and meditate upon – the cross, first verses of Psalm 103, gratitude. This “because” response is full. I thank you again. This post is a gift.

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