Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Christian Seder Meal

Repost from April 19, 2011:

A Christian Seder Meal

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I have been studying many things Jewish in the last few months to prepare a curriculum for our church's Marketplace VBS. We will transform our church into a marketplace from Jesus's time, and our children will learn about the four spring Jewish feasts.
The times that God appointed in Leviticus 23 were not only times for the Jews to look back and remember, they were a clear foretelling of all that Christ would do. Jesus fulfilled the first four feasts in his first coming.
Passover is not only the story of an enslaved people being miraculously freed by their God, it is the story of Jesus spilling his own blood so that death might pass over His people.
And so, celebrating the Passover as Jews do has definitely become something more appealing to me.
This year, many Jews celebrated the actual Passover meal last night, April 18. But the week-long Passover celebration continues until the 25th. Sometime this week, my family will celebrate a Passover meal to look back and to look up. I highly recommend it for your family as well.
The way Jews celebrate Passover now centers on the highly symbolic seder plate. This plate contains bits of food for tasting during the story of the original Passover. Each piece of this plate also looks to what Jesus did in his first coming. Ann Voskamp's Christian celebration of Passover is a great way to celebrate this plate together as a family. Or you could use this Christian Haggadah (Christian Seder Supper Plan) or this one.
When we celebrate the Seder Supper as a family, we will pause to eat after we taste each symbolic food. Here's what we'll be eating:
1. Grape juice or wine--There are traditionally four cups of wine/grape juice that will be used throughout the meal. These are the Cup of Sanctification, the Cup of Deliverance, the Cup of Redemption, and the Cup of Thanksgiving.
2. Romaine Lettuce Salad--After we dip the celery into the salt that symbolizes the Israelites tears, we will pause to eat a salad. The dipping of the vegetable into the salt water could also represent the way that the Israelites dipped the branches into the blood of the lamb to spread it over their doorposts.
3. Matzah bread--Matzah is an unleavened bread that refers to the fact that when the Israelites fled Egypt, they did not have time to let their bread rise. Leaven stands for sin in the Bible, and getting rid of leaven is a big part of the week of Passover. The Matzah bread is a beautiful picture of our Savior, the Bread of Life. He was perfectly sinless. During the Seder meal, the bread is broken, as our Savior was. Matzah bread is traditionally both pierced and striped, as our Savior was before He was crucified. Making Matzah with the kids would be a great way to prepare for the Seder meal both practically and spiritually.
4. Matzah Ball Soup--This would be a good place to pause for the soup made of crushed matzah bread. My mouth is watering just thinking about the combination of the broth and dough!
5. Steamed radishes--After we have tasted the horseradish, which is bitter herbsto symbolize the Israelites bitter enslavement, we will have our steamed radishes. In one of the Christian Haggadahs I linked to above, this is said to also be a reminder that sin can be our bitter enslavement.
6. Haroset is a mixture of apples, raisins, and honey that symbolizes the mortar that the Israelites used to build for the Egyptians. Charoset (HahROset) is a very kid-friendly part of the meal, and this was the whole idea for the seder meal--it is a way to teach our children about the beautiful truths of our faith.
7. Zucchini-stuffed Chicken--During a traditional ceremonial seder, no meat is tasted. A "shank bone" is displayed on the plate to show that a lamb was the central theme of the original Passover. Since there is no temple now, Jews cannot sacrifice a lamb. This bone is spoken of in the meal but not eaten. For a Christian Seder meal, you could display a cross for this bone or use a regular bone. After speaking of the lamb that had to die during the original Passover, the true Lamb of God is a natural subject. Jesus, our Lamb, was crucified for our sins so that we might have eternal life. After this discussion, the chicken can be eaten. (And it gets in my recent infatuation: zucchini!)
8. Deviled Eggs--Hard boiled eggs commemorate the sacrifice of the lamb in the temple. Now they are a symbol of the new life brought by the Lamb.
9. Matzah Rolls--The matzah bread is eaten several times during the meal. If you would like more than the crackerish matzah, you could try these matzah rolls.
10. Chocolate Torte--An unleavened chocolate cake finishes off the meal. (Gotta get that chocolate cake in there, you know?!) Perhaps the dessert could be prefaced with talk of how sweet the Gospel story is--we are saved out of our sin to a sweet relationship with our loving Savior, Jesus, the Passover Lamb.
When we celebrate the Passover meal, we probably won't follow any of the Haggadahs linked to above exactly. We will instead, eat our way through the story of our own redemption. This is exactly how the Seder Supper is supposed to be taken--as an assault on one's senses to help us remember the provision of our Lord!
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