Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Seder dinner

There are some very, very cool traditions concerning Passover that we in the Christian Church have largely forgotten. Communion, the Lords Supper, whatever you call it, was actually done that night before the arrest as Seder, during the Pesah or Passover. Jesus and his disciples would have gone through some pretty cool things that I didn't know about until recently, after a life lived inside the church.

Here are some cool things:
* All leaven and leavened bread must be out of the house. (Jesus refers to leaven as sin).
* A special plate has a lamb's bone, bitter herbs (usually horseradish) is tasted as a reminder of the bitter life of slavery.
* A bowl of salt water, representing the tears of slavery, into which the herbs are dipped and eaten.
* There's a breaking of the matzo into three pieces, the middle one set aside (actually hidden) for later. The children are given a moment after dinner to find the matzo and are rewarded with coins (say 30?).
* 4 Cups of Wine are drank ceremoniously throughout the dinner. The first at the beginning, the second when the Four Questions are asked and the recounting of the Exodus. The third cup is after the meal. The fourth and last cup is special (Hallel). As I mentally walk through this reading the Gospels, what a thought to see Jesus lift that fourth cup... This is my blood.
* Of course, the middle matzos, that was hidden and now found, is the bread that He broke, saying "This is my body..."

The imagery and symbolism of Jesus and the Seder is incredible.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite aspects of going to Mass (I'm Catholic) is the celebration of the Eucharist, where we believe we are celebrating the Last Supper with Jesus (as God is not bound by time).

    And during Holy Week our church also holds an example of a Seder Supper to educate the parishioners as to the different aspects you discussed and how Jesus would have celebrated Passover.

    I know a lot of Christians struggle with the rituals within Catholicism, but I really enjoy their historic tie back to the Jewish traditions from which many of them were based.

    It's a very rich, wonderful experience.