Apr 08, 2020 • Written by Elizabeth Nejedlo
A Time of Remembrance
Gather- It’s a word that many like to use, but perhaps one that many of us have taken for granted. It reminds us of meals with friends, holidays with family, and coming together to worship.
Biblical festivals were a time to gather, but God instituted these gatherings for more than just providing a time to celebrate, laugh, and practice traditions. These festivals were created to remember the past. Why? Because too often, we forget.
This Holy week, when many of our Easter traditions are modified, my family is incorporating a new one.
Passover is traditionally a celebration and remembrance of the rescue of the Hebrew people from their bondage of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 3:13). Jesus (and His family) celebrated Passover, and Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem to observe it. The last supper was a Passover meal. We as Christians are not bound to celebrate Passover, but it could be beneficial (Colossians 2:16:17).
And not only can we observe it, I think you may find some beautiful and symbolic reasons to want to celebrate it this year.
So why is my family incorporating Passover into our Easter season? Passover is the origin of communion- it points to Jesus, our Passover lamb and the fulfillment of the law. Passover is not only a picture of the deliverance of Israel, but it is foreshadowing for our own deliverance from sin, bondage, and death through Jesus.
In a season where we cannot gather physically with our friends and church family, we can instead use this Easter as a time of remembrance.
A time to remember the saving power of God.
A time to remember God's provision.
A time to hope for today. In the future.
A time to remember God is faithful.
A time to remember that God always has a plan.
A time to remember that He not only rescued yesterday, but He rescues today as well.
A time to remember, not only how God has worked in the past, but how He is working in our lives today.
Because even though we may not feel it right now, God is working. In the world. And in you and me.
This year, as my immediate family celebrates the Holy week, we are adding this tradition. We may not do every piece of the Passover perfectly, but we will remember. Let me highlight a few key points in the celebration that we will be incorporating into our Thursday evening meal this week. What is most important is that it is a time together. A time to pray, worship in song, tell stories, give blessings, and most importantly a time to remember.
1. Removing the leaven from our home. In preparation for this holiday, the cleaning of the home and removal of all leaven (yeast) is done. Leaven was a symbol of sin, so removal of the leaven has a spiritual meaning: to remove the sin from our own lives. Perhaps you will not choose to remove every crumb of leaven from your home this week, but instead consider what you may be in bondage to. What sin do you need to be freed from? What is God asking you to do that you are not obeying?
2. Worship. Remember God’s faithfulness through worshipping together as a family.
3. Blessing over the candles. Two candles are placed at the dinner table. The hostess performs a blessing over the candles "sanctifying" the evening as a celebration of God.
4. Blessing of the meal. Turn to thankfulness for God’s provision in the midst of this season.
5. The four cups. Throughout the meal, four cups will be passed around. Each of the four cups will be explained and partaken of throughout the meal.
- the cup of Sanctification (Exodus 6:6) (1 Corinthians 1:30)
- the cup of deliverance (Exodus 6:6) (Romans 6:20)
- the cup of Redemption (Exodus 6:6) (Galatians 3:13)
- the cup of Praise or Acceptance (Exodus 6:6) (Matthew 26:29)
6. Washing of the hands. Washing your hands symbolizes purification. Jesus washed the disciples' feet. We will do this before starting our meal.
7. Eating the greens. Each person dips parsley (or any green you like) into salt water. The "green" represents the hyssop used to spread the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of the Hebrew homes in Egypt. The Salt water symbolizes the tears shed by those in bondage.
8. Breaking the Matzoh and the Afikomen. The Matzoh, or "Bread of Affliction", is discussed, broken, and hidden. It is broken in three pieces. The middle piece (Jesus is the middle person of the Trinity) is broken in half. We will use this time to talk about Jesus and what he did for us on the cross. One half is then set aside, and the other half is placed in a napkin and hidden somewhere in the house. Later on, children can go and look for it. The one who finds it (resurrection) gets a reward!
9. Telling of the Exodus story and the last supper. The Exodus story is read in Jewish Passover tradition. We will be reading the last supper passage as well as the Exodus story and discuss the importance of both and how one foreshadows the other.
10. Reclining. Pillows were placed around the table so that people could recline. Why? Because the burden of slavery had been removed. As Christians, Jesus has taken up our burden of sin, so we too will place pillows around to relax after our meal.
In Jewish tradition, a place is set at the table for each person and then an extra place setting for the prophet Elijah. We will be setting an extra place at our table for Jesus.
Let us remember, even amidst the anxiety of the world today, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Let us remember that on the third day there was victory over that grave, pain, and sin. Find hope in this: His plans are good. HE is GOOD. May we remember this. Not only today. Not only this week. Not only on Easter. But EVERY SINGLE DAY.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV).