We will celebrate our 37th Annual Seder (Passover) Meal on Monday, April 10th, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Fr. Ken DeGroot Community Center. Experience the Jewish Passover Meal with a Christian reflection on the Last Supper. The cost is $10 per person. Reservations need to be made by Sunday, April 2nd. Sign-up sheets are in the Gathering Space beginning about one month before this event, which is always the Monday of Holy Week.
Introduction: Passover is the great Jewish feast of redemption and liberation, the memorial of the Israelites' deliverance from their bondage in Egypt. The word Passover means "deliverance," since in the story of the Exodus Yahweh "passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt" (Ex. 12:27). Passover is also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, since in their haste to flee Egypt, "the people carried off their dough, still unleavened" (Ex. 12:34). The lamb offered at each paschal meal recalls the first Passover sacrifice, whose blood protected the Israelites from the avenging angel of Yahweh (cf. Ex. 12:21-33). Passover is a festival of great rejoicing, which reveals how God "led us from captivity to freedom, from sadness to joy, from mourning to feasting, from servitude to redemption, from darkness to brilliant light."
The Seder Meal: The ritual meal which commemorates the events of the Exodus is called the Seder.
The primary aim of the Seder is to transmit to future generations the story of the Exodus, the central event in Jewish history. Ideally, a family gathers around a table in its own home to celebrate the Seder, sharing in a meal which symbolizes their consciousness as a people and their faith in the future. The Exodus story pertains to all persons, since it tells of the right of all persons to be free.
Celebrating Our Heritage: In the Christian tradition the Passover Seder is also believed to be when Jesus instituted the Eucharist. Gathered around the supper table with his disciples, Jesus told them, "I have longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; because, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
Then, taking a cup, he gave thanks and said, 'Take this and share it among you, because from now on, I tell you, I shall not drink wine until the kingdom of God comes'.
Then he took some bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body which will be given for you; do this as a memorial of me'. He did the same with the cup after supper, and said, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be poured out for you.'" (Luke 22:15-20)
This Christian observance of this ritual meal celebrates not only our tradition of Christ's last supper but our own Jewish heritage which provided the context for Jesus' institution at the last supper.
Elements of the Seder: The Seder meal is accompanied by commentary, prayers and, where possible, songs. Since the Seder is a commemoration of the Exodus story, it is strongly recommended that prior to the celebration all participants read and reflect on the scripture account of this event which is found in chapters seven through thirteen of the book of Exodus. This account serves as an excellent family Lenten reading program, and reflection on it will greatly enhance the celebration of the Seder.
The actual celebration of the Seder is a complete meal with supper during the ritual. In the service which follows, the meal is a ritual or symbolic one and supper follows the ritual. Like the Seder, it should be festive and joyous. If there are invited guests coming to the Seder, they could each be asked to bring something for the supper. This increases the feeling of harmony and community.