A Passover Celebration for Christian Families
by Scott Wylie
Imprints Childrenís Ministries
I attended my first Jewish Passover Seder about 12 years ago. My wife and I were invited to the home of Jewish friends to participate with them in this special event. Our friends do not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, but it was clear to us what a beautiful picture of Christís redemption the Passover Seder is. Since then we have celebrated a ďChristian Passover SederĒ which emphasizes the correlation between Israelís deliverance from Egypt and the Believers deliverance from the bonds of sin.
A Brief History
Passover is the oldest and most important religious festival in Judaism, commemorating Godís deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and his creation of the Israelite people. The festival of Passover begins at sunset on the 14th of Nisan (usually in March or April) and marks the beginning of seven day celebration that includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The focal point of Passover is a communal meal, called the Seder (which means "order," because of the fixed order of service), which is time of rejoicing and celebration at the deliverance for the Hebrews that God accomplished in the exodus.
Passover has traditionally been celebrated in the home with family and friends as they eat meal together. It is customary to invite guests to share the Seder meal, especially newcomers to the community. The actual Seder meal in most Jewish homes is an elaborate feast, with food, games for the children, and plenty of time to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It is not unusual for Seder to last three to four hours.
The Seder involves everyone present since they all share in reading and singing the story. While the father or grandfather is usually the leader of the service, others have roles as well. The mother of the home lights the festival candles that signal the beginning of Passover, the youngest child asks the four questions, the children help eliminate all Chametz, leaven, from the house, search for the hidden Afikomen (symbolic piece of Matzah, unleavened bread) and open the door for Elijah, the parents or the grandparents tell the story of the exodus, and various others are designated to read or lead certain portions of the service.
Passover is really more than festival. It is an elaborate teaching experience, especially for the children, intended to call people to their identity as the People of God. By using all of the senses, the Passover Seder tells the story of God's grace in history and calls the participants to experience and share in the story as their own story.
There has been increasing interest among Christians in this ancient festival. There are various reasons for this renewed interest: an increasing sensitivity to cultural and societal problems and corresponding desire to learn about others; renewed awareness of the importance of the Old Testament Scriptures as Christian Scripture; desire or even need in our modern world to recover sense of the sacred through liturgy and sacrament and the willingness to find new and innovative ways to worship. Most importantly, however, is the wonderful picture the Passover gives Believers of what Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, has accomplished for us.
I encourage Christian families to begin a tradition of having a special Passover celebration. My children love this celebration and look forward to it each year. It is a terrific teaching opportunity and helps us draw our focus toward the eternal significance of Christís passion. Good Friday would be a good day to consider, but anytime during the Easter season would be appropriate. A Christian Passover Celebration is not difficult, but it does require some planning so begin thinking about it a few weeks in advance.
For more information in a Christian Passover Celebration, visit http://www.colonialkids.org/parents/seder.htm
. There you will find a complete set of instructions, recipes and an order of service.
Scott Wylie is the Pastor of Childrenís Ministries at Colonial Baptist Church, Cary, NC
This article provided by the Family Content Archives at: http://www.Family-Content.com
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