Letter to my dying aunt

Today when I visited you in the hospital, it took all my courage to say, You need to ask God to help you. But I didn’t go far enough. What I wanted to say is written in this letter.

Please have one of the nurses read it to you. If at all possible, I will return shortly and read it to you myself.

My dear Sandy,

The shock of seeing you on that narrow bed unnerved me. For you have always been so powerfully alive. A whirlwind at Saks, Neiman’s or behind the wheel, you’re elegant, refined, beautiful. No one can help but admire you when you enter a room.

And yet here you are wired and frozen with arms restrained from pulling out what the nurse refers to as, The straw in your throat which allows you to breathe. Your right eye tries to focus. One big toe moves slightly in response to the nurse’s prompt. A few fingers, less so.

I love you Sandy, I say.  The people who love you are here in the room with you. There’s Melody, and Carolyn, Ron, Francine and Steve. And God loves you much more than any of us. But there’s more you still need to know.

The Passover

Passover is mine, you told us. And we all gathered in Georgetown. Flower garlands, fruit sculptures and bustling servants in white filled your townhouse. The long dining table was extended with leaves to fill the room. White linen, cut crystal and course after course of perfectly catered food from Luck’s alternated with long Haggadah prayers. We the youngest sat exiled at the more modestly festooned card table in the hall.  Grandmom and Edie squeezed by to smoke and fight. Such glorious times in the dark night of our short lives.

Do you remember the story of the Passover? Ten drops of wine for each of the plagues the God of Israel - our God - delivered onto Pharaoh. Those Egyptians hardened their hearts against Him and refused to believe and obey. How could they be so stubborn, even in the face of their pain? Blood - Frogs - Lice - Flies - Pestilence - Boils - Hail - Locusts - Darkness - and then the most terrible of all - Death of the Firstborn. The Jewish Bible tells us that not one Egyptian house was spared.

Sandy, I know you believe the Passover account. It happened to our very ancestors. But those Haggadahs never told us the reason for the specificity of those terrible plagues. Each was a reproach to one of the gods of Egypt. The real God was showing them that He alone exists. All other representations of deity are creations of man. They could not save the Egyptians, nor can they save anyone today.

Just before delivering that last horrible plague, God passed a curious instruction to the Children of Israel:

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying…they shall take to them every man a lamb…for an house… Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year… and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. -Exodus 12.3-12

This history given to us is an accurate depiction of what really took place. Blood from a perfect lamb was rudely slathered over every doorway and lintel of every dwelling of everyone who believed in the true God. When the LORD came through to execute the death penalty, he spared those who followed his instructions. Any who did not cover themselves with blood in just this way were not spared.

Sandy, this is more than just history. You know there’s only one person who has ever been known as the perfect lamb of God. He is the Jewish Messiah. Egypt is not just a country thousands of years ago. It’s also a picture of the world we live in today, content to go on without care for its Creator. People would rather approach Him in the way and form they choose. But this doesn’t work.

The final plague is the final judgment which our Jewish Scriptures tell us will be meted out on every human being. Those not written in the Book of Life - Jewish or Gentile - must face God in their own righteousness. And you know none of us are perfect. Our Bible tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. And we all fall short of the glory of God. If we break even one of the commandments, we are guilty of all.

When I said, Ask God to help you, I was asking you to claim the blood of Christ as your Passover lamb. I was asking you to cover the doorposts of your heart, mind, body and soul with the blood of our Jewish Messiah, who lived obediently, died once, and rose again, living now in physical form at the right hand of God the Father almighty. If you call on Him, and desire to obey his commands, then He will write your name into the Book of Life. He will save you from judgment, and give you a new heart, and eternal life with Him and His people. You will never be alone again.

Years ago I believed in the only true Messiah of Israel, Jesus Christ. By that faith, through God’s grace, I was reborn. My life has not been a good example. But my failures do not invalidate the truth of Scripture. Please, trust Him now, now. Trust Him, and we will see each other again soon. Every tear will be wiped from our eyes.

I love you, Sandy.


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