Lent 4

 “From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom” (Numbers 21:4). 

This year on Palm Sunday, March 25, we have a unique opportunity happening here at St. John’s. Our Beyond Bread Small Group is preparing for us a traditional Passover Seder Meal that will be served at 6:00 p.m. Space is limited to the first 30 participants who sign-up. Sign-up sheets are available at both Welcome Centers. In addition to a unique and delicious meal, the Seder Meal invites us into the story of God’s deliverance of God’s people from slavery into freedom. The Seder Meal is more than a meal. It is a worship experience like none other. 

But why? Why might Christians want to participate in a traditionally Jewish observance? To answer the question of “Why?”, I turn to a writing by Barbara Balzac Thompson. 

“The Seder is one part of the present-day Jewish seven-day Passover celebration. The name Passover harks back to the time when God, through Moses, led the Israelites out of their slavery. The Egyptian pharaoh was finally convinced to let the people go when the angel of death killed every firstborn in Egypt but ‘passed over’ the Israelite homes that had put lamb’s blood on their doorposts. 

To recall that great deliverance, the elements of the traditional Seder meal symbolize significant features of the Israelite experience. Both the event of God’s deliverance and the directions God gave Moses for later commemoration of the Passover history are represented in the Seder ritual and meal. 

Christians are particularly interested in this ritual meal because it was during a Passover celebration that Jesus instituted Holy Communion. It should be realized, however, that the Passover clearly predates and is entirely separate from the Eucharist. The Seder is a later Jewish form of the Passover observance, useful and important in its own right, having been practiced for more than 1,000 years. It must not be mixed with Christian concepts or expressions if it is to be authentic. It is a Jewish celebration of freedom useful in helping Christians understand Judaism” (Barbara Balzac Thompson. Passover Seder: Ritual and Menu for an Observance by Christians. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984.) 

Sign-up today! Seats are going fast! Come and be reminded anew of how God intervened to deliver God’s people Israel and how God’s deliverance continues still to free us! 

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