The Passover Seder for the Jewish community is one of the most important, if not the most important celebrations in the tradition. The Seder marks the celebration of the exodus from Egypt and the new life in God. With a very focused celebration of Palm Sunday during the morning service, this week for the Gathering we will embark on having a “Christian Seder” following a book written by Barbara Thompson.
For me, the first time I did a Seder meal was one of the most insightful experiences in my ministry because I really had the opportunity to understand the context of the last supper. I think it is easy to think of the last supper to be this event that had the mere focus of Jesus breaking bread, but the context adds power and depth to the message.
It is kind of like having an incredible piece of cheese and having an incredible piece of cheese with the best bottle of wine you've ever had, either way the experience is good, it is just that the second is much more full.
Knowing the context for the Lords Supper allows us to see that the Lords supper is placed within a celebration of faithfulness: God’s faithfulness towards us, and our faithfulness towards God. Moreover understanding the tradition of the Seder helps us to see how God is integral within the life, both in the good and the bad.
For the believers in Christ this is crucial, especially in the early church since being subversive and being Christian were synonymous. Meaning that there was an accepted difficulty in following Christ, but that was OK because the ultimate good was worth it!
The Seder has much more to do with Christianity then just the connection to the connection to the Passover. According to some Church historians, many of the early Christian Worship and celebrations were directly modeled after the Seder Haggadah. This means that much of the way the early church worshiped was around food and teaching, but more then that, there was a strong reminder of God’s faithfulness and desire of our love.
I hope that you are able to join us this Sunday. I know it will be an experience that will help you to better understand the Last Supper, and help you grow in your faith.
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Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen