The Jewish holiday, Passover, is a celebration that lasts for a week and commemorates the exodus of God’s people from slavery in Egypt. It celebrates their freedom and deliverance. An important event of Passover is the Seder meal. During the Seder meal, Jews recall their story of deliverance and look forward with great anticipation and excitement towards the coming of the Messiah, the Deliverer and Savior.
On the night before Jesus was betrayed, he was celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples. Except differently than any other Passover meal before this one, this time Jesus told his disciples that the wine they are drinking and the bread they are eating actually signify His blood and His body. He told them that He would now become the sacrificial lamb; the One through whom all sins would be forgiven and all could be reconciled to God through faith.
Since both are based on different calendar calculations, it is not often the case that the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Christian holidays of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday actually overlap. This year, however, they did align! As a church we had the wonderful opportunity to take advantage of this alignment and alter our traditional Maundy Thursday service to be a Seder meal experience.
With the help of a new friend, Don Levy, we were able to learn about the traditional elements of the Seder meal and offer a unique, interactive and experiential dinner. We walked through a traditional Jewish Seder meal while finding Jesus in the story every step of the way and were able to celebrate communion together as well.
It was a beautiful evening with just shy of 200 people gathered together around tables in the Lower Worship Center. Each table acted as a family unit. We read through an adaptation of a guide called a “Haggadah” (story) which tells the story of Passover. Our Haggadah was modified to point to Christ our Messiah at each part of the traditional Jewish feast. We experienced the elements of the Seder plate and then enjoyed an actual meal together. We closed the evening by celebrating communion and singing together.
It was wonderful to see people of all ages coming together to experience something new. Being able to witness this covenant celebration was a gift. Learning how Jewish families celebrate and find their identity as children of the promise and how they annually recall the events of their redemptive history was enlightening and beautiful. And then being able to find Christ the Messiah at each step of the Haggadah and also draw comparisons to our celebration of the Lord’s Supper as Christians was really neat. It was such a unique experience and one I’m sure many will remember for years to come.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have had this experience as a body of Christ and hope it is one that will be repeated in the future.