Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Remember When . . . Jesus Celebrated the Passover?


Tomorrow is the day many churches celebrate as Maundy Thursday--the Passover Thursday, the day Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples. Does your church celebrate this day with a meal?

Growing up in a United Methodist Church, we would have a Maundy Thursday dinner. It went something like this: ladies who signed up to help would bring a pot of beef stew. They were all mixed together into one giant pot, which made a rather tasty concoction. Plates of fruit and cheese were set out. Someone made unleavened bread. The pastor read through the Last Supper portion of one of the Gospels. There was optional foot-washing. The end.

After college, friends of ours had their pastor, who was a Messianic Jew, lead our Bible study through a Messianic Passover Seder. And it was quite simply, amazing. The actual seder meal, with the actual Jewish traditions included, shed so much light on that portion of the Gospels! Suddenly everything Jesus said took on new, fuller meaning. His promises and claims are at specific points in the meal where He demonstrates that He is fulfilling the Jewish law, the promises of the Prophets. If you've never participated in one of these, I can't recommend it enough!

When Rowyn was a baby, we decided to do one at our church. I just found a free service guide online and printed it out, and we bumbled our way through. It was great, if not so great as the one led by someone who knew what he was doing.  But we decided to do it again in 2012 and have made it an annual event. 

Learn about why some people put an orange on their seder plate, and other modern additions.   Six Parts of the Seder Plate  Beitzah: The Roasted Egg is symbolic of the festival sacrifice made
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Two years ago, my church decided to invest in actual Passover Haggadah booklets--these are little pamphlet style books for each person to have beside their plate. They have all the responsive readings and explain what each element of the Seder plate is for. Designed for English-speaking Christians, these little books have been a very welcome addition to our meal and are much easier to follow than the print-outs I'd found before. (We found them here.)

For our church, this meal has become a critical part of Holy Week. It's when we focus on the history and how our Lord played into it. It's when we remember the roots that He came from. It's when we partake of a meal like He did with His followers.

Funny story. Two years ago, my mom was sick and couldn't come to the meal. But my husband rigged some cameras in our fellowship hall and broadcast the event, and she watched from home. Now, there's a portion of the meal where one of the kids is to get up and open the door, symbolically welcoming Elijah. When we got to this part, my mom's door blew open. She thought it was pretty cool and texted us and commented on the website to tell us. But when she really got goosebumps was later in the service, when someone closes the door--and her door blew shut again all on its own. Just one of those little things that made her fully aware that she was part of us, even if too sick that day to join us physically. 

This year, I'll be again in charge of the Seder plate. I'll be roasting eggs, making the apple clay (a mixture of raw apples, almonds, grape juice, and cinnamon I toss into the blender), baking unleavened bread, getting out the lamb bones I have in the freezer to roast, arranging bitter greens, spooning out horseradish, and mixing up salt water. All to make real to our church, as it's made real to the Jewish people every year during Passover, how God delivered His people from slavery in Egypt all those years ago...and how Christ delivered us from slavery to sin on the cross.


3 comments:

  1. Good Morning Roseanna, I really enjoyed your story this Morning, especially the part about Elisha and the door with your Mom, nothing is a coincidence is it ? It gave me the chills ❣️😊 That is totally awesome that you do that at your church. I invited my Son and family over for Easter dinner as is custom, but this year I’m going to have Matzo soup and the unleavened chocolate cake, I pray this will be the inspiring for all 🙏🏻💕🙏🏻

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  2. A messianic seder is amazingly eye-opening: especially for someone raised Jewish, like me. I think it was only a couple years after the hubby and I came to Christ that a Friends of Israel missionary did one at our church. Our mouths were agape for the entire thing. We have done non-messianic seders a couple times at our home for Christian friends, and they are fascinating too. We really should do one again (ain't gonna happen this year!). Long story short: great post, Rosanna! (And you probably know this, but the Hebrew word for apple clay is charoset.)

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