I knew I had Easter as one of my topics, and figured I would be writing about Easter next Sunday.
But Easter came alive to me tonight, so I want to share about my experience.
Tonight Paul, Molly, Mom and I attended the Passover Seder dinner at Silver Valley Worship Center, one of our local churches. It takes you through the traditional Jewish Passover Meal, but also ties in a lot what the different things mean in relation to Jesus as well.
Each table had a designated "Father" who served the meal. The "Mother" at the table was the one who lit the candles at the beginning.
The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus (Shemot) in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt: "You shall tell your child on that day, saying, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 13:8)
Traditionally, families and friends gather in the evening to read the text of the Haggadah, an ancient work derived from the Mishnah. The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs.
Seder customs include telling the story, discussing the story, drinking four cups of wine, eating matza, partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate, and reclining in celebration of freedom. The Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world.
The meal took about three hours to go through, with all the traditions and rituals involved in the evening. But they were not empty traditions or rituals. Each food we ate, each time we drank from the cup, each time we washed our hands,,,,it all had a meaning.
And the meaning always pointed to Jesus Christ. Jesus was the ultimate sacrificial lamb. Jesus' blood was shed to take away our sins. It continued through everything we did tonight, showing how Jesus is a part of this Exodus story that the Jewish people tell every year to remember the story of the Exodus from Eqypt.
There was singing. There were blessings. There was the blowing of the Shofar.
There was delicious food.
A time to meditate on the true meaning of Easter, and how Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
As a Christian, it helped me understand the Jewish heritage of my faith even more.
As a Christian, it made this week even more meaningful.....this holiest of weeks leading up to the celebration of Christ's resurrection, which we will do on Sunday.
There is so much more that touched me tonight, but it is more than I can write at one setting.
Thank you to the people who provided this special meal tonight, and the many Christian brothers and sister who came and ate this meal with us all.
See you in Jerusalem again!!