Acts 2:1-21; Ps 104; Ro 8:14-17; JOHN 14:8-17, 25-27
My peace I give to you…Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. AMEN.
Seders commemorate the Passover of Jews across the Red Sea in safety away from enslavement to Pharaoh in Egypt. 49 days later, according to most Jewish traditions, Shavuot, one of the three pilgrimage holidays is celebrated. It commemorates the gift of Torah to the entire nation of Israel gathered at Mt. Sinai. The counting of the 7 days in 7 weeks, called Counting of the Omer, is seen to express anticipation and desire for the giving of Torah. An omer-measure of barley was also observed as a sacrifice, offered in the Temple at Jerusalem, until an offering of wheat was brought to the Temple at Shavuot. Shavuot actually means weeks, so it marks the end of the counting of the Omer. People believed also that the idea of counting each day represented spiritual preparation and anticipation for the gift of Torah, around the same era, as was the Shavuot observance as a rain offering of sacrifice. One Jewish belief is that they were only freed from Egypt to receive Torah at Sinai, at Shavuot, and then to fulfill its laws. This back and forth weaving of meanings shows the antiquity of the traditions and their layers of understanding.