Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunday Seder

Our church (along with 2 others) was so extremely blessed to have some of the people from Congregation Beth Messiah in Houston come to let us experience a traditional Passover Seder.

Oh, it was amazing. I could go on and on but I will try to contain myself to just a few things.

First, in case you didn't know the Seder is one of the feasts commanded by God in Leviticus. It is to remind them of how God freed them from slavery to Egypt and how the angel of death passed over their homes in the last plague. In Leviticus it is called the "feast of the unleavened bread." It is also the meal that Jesus and the disciples were eating at the last supper.

That first Passover, they were commanded to bake bread with out any leavening and roast a lamb. The leavening is a symbol of sin, but it also shows that they were not supposed to take their time. Bread with leavening takes awhile and they had to be ready to leave.

Now the Jews that celebrate Passover are supposed to rid their house of leavening. This is not just the jar of yeast in the freezer, but any bread, and anything that might have bread crumbs (like a toaster.) The point is though, we can't remove every bit of it any more than we can remove every bit of sin. That's why we need Jesus.

At the Seder meal there is a plate filled with Karpas (greens), Betzah (egg), Maror (bitter herbs), & Charoset (Nuts & Fruit). I am not going to attempt to give an explanation because you will find many on the net that will be much better than mine.

But there is something I want to share about the Karpas. We had parsley for our greens and the green symbolizes life. Passover happens in the spring when new life starts up. Life is given and sustained by God.

Before eating the Parsley, we were told to dip it in some salt water which symbolizes the tears that were shed by Israel as well as the tears that we shed. The Maror symbolizes the bitterness in slavery, but I also see it in the tears.

Tears shed because of slavery. I also know that we are not immune to slavery. So many are enslaved by their sin - powerless to stop. And then so many exchange those bonds for a new set of bonds. Any religion that wants you to jump through hoops to assure you that you are saved - for the moment at least - is not what He planned. If you have to do A, B and C in order to be saved, then you are saying that His sacrifice is not enough.

Ok, I am getting off of my soapbox now.

The Seder is so rich in symbolism that points straight to Christ as the Messiah. There are three pieces of unleavened bread together in a pocket, the middle one is broken and then wrapped in linen and hidden to be found later. "He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." Luke 22:19.

I have so much more to share, but I am going to stop here for now. I want to tell you about Dayenu - it would have been enough. What a deep and rich word! But that will be tomorrow.


  1. Sounds extremely cool! I love learning about other traditions - I can't wait to hear more!

  2. What a great bit of history. I still have so much to learn...

    Recent blog post: If you teach a boy to fish...

  3. I participated in this meal once at our church, and oh, rich the symbolism. Very meaningful.

  4. We celebrated a Seder in the PCA church(es) I grew up in. I loved them, and honestly, I miss them. Celebrating a passover meal was another way to make Easter more meaningful, the way Advent prepares our hearts for Christ at Christmas time.

    I'm glad your family was able to experience this. Beautiful and moving, no? :)