Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Our Very First Messianic Seder

Come to the table of mercy
prepared with the wine and the bread.
All who are hungry and thirsty,
come and your souls will be fed.

Won't you come at the Lord's invitation
receive from His nail-scarred hands.
Eat of the bread of salvation,
drink of the blood of the Lamb.
Come to the Table
written by Claire Cloninger and Martin J. Nystrom

Just before sunset on a glorious day in the early autumn, we came to this table with hearts full of expectation. Earlier than the many, many other families who will sit down to similar nights of remembering  later this week. But my husband is leaving soon to be about the King's business, and will be away on that evening when countless other fathers will take their places at the head of their tables to lead their families in this age-old Remembering. 

So we light the next candle on our pathway to the Cross and a chubby little toddler  hand solemnly sticks a picture of the cup-and-the bread onto our Holy Week banner. And we all grow quiet in the last glow of the day, and invite our Saviour to come join us at our table...

John 13: 3- 6: [Jesus] riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
 After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

And a precious young man who has become a son in our home, swallows hard as he understands a little of Peter's heart:

John 13:8-9: Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

And then we take our first uncertain steps towards something new...that is really thousands of years old: we revisit the events of the night in Egypt, when the Lord would pass over the houses of His people who obeyed His instructions, and set them free from slavery. But every symbol on our table that reminds us of that night, 

becomes even more breathtakingly meaningful as we remember its fulfillment on a night many years later, when that group of twelve reclined at the table with their Lord... We ask the ancient questions, and as we discover the answers together, our eyes fill with tears at the overpowering, fresh understanding of His words, His actions at the table that night.

And by the end of it all there is peace, such peace, and awe as the last notes of our praise hymn fade away...and we all, the littlest too, still linger, unwilling to depart from this encounter, where His Spirit ministered quiet healing in more than one way...


The Seder meal is a Jewish tradition based on the instructions God gave Moses in Exodus 13. But as Christians we also look beyond the first Passover to the night before Jesus was betrayed - where, at a Passover Seder with His disciples, He gave them the New Covenant, and in the days that followed, through His death and resurrection, became the fulfillment of those symbols: the Sacrificial Lamb of God who set us free from the yoke of slavery, from the bitter tears of our sins.

To read more about how Christan families with young children can have a Messianic Seder, I recommend two excellent links:
 This one by Jennifer Dukes Lee,
and this wonderful, free resource by Kathryn Frazier. 
But it was the answers to the four questions in this post by Ann Voskamp that brought it all together for me...

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