A Chinese friend of mine (I’ll call him James) and I were watching the SyFy channel one weekend and during commercials we were coming up with plots for new shows. James said let’s call the show proposal Mooncakes, after an Eastern legend. Tell me more, I replied.
James said his grandmother told him a story of long, long ago when ten suns suddenly appeared in the sky. The intense heat began to cause significant biological, climate, and geographical problems, so the leaders of the empire were mobilized to deal with the situation. The most accurate archer in the land was recruited to shoot down nine of the suns, and wise men hoped the conditions would begin to normalize soon after.
The good news is the archer was successful and the effort succeeded. Due to his actions, he was made emperor. But the bad news is he was lacking in character. His wish to rule forever was an incessant pursuit of narcissistic proportions. Nothing was beneath his lustful appetites. He heard of an ancient tale of a pill that was said to provide immortality and sent agents to find it.
His wife Chang-E stole the pill shortly after it was discovered and returned to the palace. Her risky attempt had succeeded because she was fearful of her husband’s increasing pursuit of power and she hoped to save her people from his never-ending tyranny. She swallowed the pill and in an ingenious escape plan, floated to the moon, along with her pet rabbit.
Many Chinese remember Chang-E and her rabbit when they celebrate an annual event called the Mid-Autumn (or Mooncake) Festival…a time when they eat mooncakes and carry lanterns. We know that man has walked on the moon and never run into Chang-E or her rabbit. Yet James said the Mooncake Festival is still celebrated in places where there are Chinese people. The idea that has lasted for generations and remembered fondly is the courage and altruism of Chang-E. Many who celebrate the idea apparently do not care whether she ever actually existed.
Read Leviticus 22:31-33 and 23:4-8.
The book of Leviticus reveals Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, both of which commemorate actual historical events that the Jewish people experienced. They were not created to honor human virtue and were not mythic based happenings that grew into legend.
These two festivals are days for Jewish people to remember a significant time when the One True God stepped into human history and intervened to rescue the Hebrews from danger, slavery, and ethnic cleansing. The Israelites did not deserve it and many did not even appreciate the actions the Lord took to make it possible. But God acted as their grace-giving Redeemer.
Moses challenged the Hebrews to observe these feasts and festivals for another reason. The people were to remember that God is holy, separate and set apart from, and above all of creation. There is no one like Him in heaven or on earth. They were also to remember that it is this holy God who makes them holy. He sets them apart from everybody and everything (including their own sin) for His own good purpose (see Ephesians 2:8-10). What a privilege and responsibility!
Grow devotionally. What are some areas of your life that are unholy? What does Scripture say about those issues? Feed and develop holy habits. Holy living is living wholly for God.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz