Skip to comments.First Presbyterian celebrates Passover Seder
Posted on 04/01/2013 10:19:40 PM PDT by Cronos
The lighting of the candles, the pouring of the wine, the breaking of the matzo, the knowledge that we are released from bondage and the joyful laughter of friends sharing a potluck meal. All of these elements were present when First Presbyterian Church at 2101 Utica celebrated a Passover Seder Thursday night.
All of these elements were present when First Presbyterian Church at 2101 Utica celebrated a Passover Seder Thursday night.
A traditional Jewish meal served on Passover, the Seder uses elements of the meal to remember and celebrate the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, breaking the bonds of slavery.
Pastor David Hawkins believes that all of us are captives to something.
Were captives to fear, were captive to stuff. Everybody has their own thing.
The Presbyterian Seder followed the Haggadah, or service, from the Jewish Federation of North America. Hawkins and his staff put together a booklet that led the congregation through the service.
Everything the words, the food, the drink, the order had special meaning and significance.
Matzo is the most famous food served at a Seder meal, Hawkins said.
Because the Israelites were told to leave Egypt suddenly, there was no time for the bread to rise. In remembrance, the Seder requires unleavened bread to be served.
Parsley dipped in saltwater represents bitter tears that were shed during the time of captivity.
It also represents the tears of the Egyptians when their firstborn sons were taken, Hawkins said. There is a terrible price to pay for slavery, for both owners and slaves.
Haroset, a dish made of apples, nuts, wine and spices, was served on romaine lettuce along with horseradish between pieces of matzo. Eating bitter and sweet together represents the bitterness of slavery and the sweetness of Gods liberation. Haroset also symbolizes the mortar used when the Israelites made bricks in Egypt.
The Pesach, represented by a lambs shank placed on the plate, reminds us that God passed over the Israelite houses when the 10th plague was visited upon the Egyptians after the Israelites offered the Passover sacrifice.
A roasted egg, which is not eaten, stands for many things, including the earth, life and springtime. It is also the traditional food of mourners and was brought to Jerusalem after the destruction of the temple.
Four cups of wine are drunk during the Seder, although the cups used at the Presbyterian Seder were only a sip, with grape juice available for those who didnt wish to drink wine.
While Hawkins and the congregation took the celebration seriously, it was a festive occasion with songs and a role for the children to play as they do in a traditional Passover service.
The celebration grew out of Jewish ideas, followed by Jesus, followed by Peter. Celebrating the Seder helps us think about the way they thought about God, Hawkins said.
The congregation provided a potluck meal which included a roast lamb stew. A sweet noodle pudding, traditional in Jewish homes, was found on the dessert table.
In a letter sent to the congregation before the meal, Hawkins reminded the congregation to bring foods appropriate to the occasion, avoiding non-kosher foods such as beans and shellfish.
Even so, he points out, the Seder wouldnt be a strictly kosher event.
We will try to be Kosher, but we will inevitably fail. Its actually a good reminder of our human nature and Gods good gift of grace and forgiveness.
Hawkins said that he didnt want to play-act being Jewish; neither did he want to Christianize the meal.
We havent been persecuted; we havent gone through what they went through, he explained.
Nevertheless, he said, Its good for us to find ourselves in the Jewish worldview just for a second to be in their shoes. We want to be as faithful as we can be to the intent of the original tradition itself.
Why do supposed Christians have the urge to celebrate other religious groups’ holidays? I don’t get it.
I don’t see a lot of Jews celebrating Christmas or Muslims celebrating Easter. I don’t see a lot of Buddhists celebrating the Ascension or Hindus celebrating All Saints Day.
All of these things people do to show they are “inclusive” just come across as phony and self-serving.
I guess Jesus was the first Christian trying to co-opt Passover when he shared it with his disciples before his death?
The symbolism of the Passover seder is a part of Christianity. The cup and the unleavened loaf (symbolic) are part of most Christian worship services. Like it or not, the first Christians were Jews and if not for Passover, might never have been born in the Holy Land.
Regarding Christians and Judaism, we are grafted into the faith says Paul.
And in most languages (English being an exception) the word for Easter is "Pesach," "Pascha," "Pasqua," --- all words referring to Passover.
So a Christian Seder is a little goyish but not altogether un-Kosher.