It has been well over a decade since we decided as a family that we wanted to celebrate the Last Supper during Holy Week. If you are familiar with the story then you know that the “Last Supper” was actually the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread or the Passover which is celebrated by the Jewish people. It was the time they set aside to remember and praise God for delivering them from slavery in Egypt. During the Passover Feast – Jesus had his final meal with his disciples and he instituted communion. Communion is a very essential and meaningful part of the life of any believer.
When we first began our celebration of the Last Supper the girls were young (10, 7, 6, 4 and 1) and we had a simple evening consisting of a meal (“feast”) and a time of communion. We also incorporated a foot washing ceremony afterwards following in Christ’s example of washing the disciples feet. Over the years that has grown to where we now have a full Passover celebration known as a Christian Seder. And I must tell you – we LOVE it! Here is some information for you on the Passover and Seder:
Passover is the oldest and one of the most important of Jewish religious festivals. It is a celebration of the Isrealites deliverance by God from slavery in Egypt. The term Passover refers to the tenth and final plague God brought upon the Egyptians to persuade Pharaoh to let the people go, the death of all the firstborn of Egypt. In obedience to God’s instructions, those who believed placed the blood of a lamb on the door posts of their homes, so that God would “pass over” those homes. The festival actually celebrates the entire sequence of events that led to the Israelites’ freedom from slavery. While thoroughly based in those historical events, the celebration encompasses much more as it becomes a vehicle to celebrate the very nature of God and His gracious work in the world.
The Passover meal is known as the Seder, which means “order,” because the meal and service are done in a prescribed sequence. This sequence is presented in the Haggadah (“telling”) which outlines the steps of the meal as well as the readings and songs for the participants. While there can be a great deal of variety in how the service is conducted, the basic elements and order have remained unchanged for centuries. The purpose of the celebration is to tell the story of God’s actions in history in a way that brings it out of the past and makes it a present reality for everyone in the community, young and old, as if they personally are part of the story. As such, the Passover has been termed one of the most effective teaching tools ever devised, as it appeals to all of the senses and involves everyone to tell the story of God.
If you are interested in having a Christian Seder yourself – here are some good websites to gain all the information you need. – Passover Seder for Christians, Christian Seder, A Christian Passover Seder (It is most definitely NOT a “spur of the moment” event – although you could always have dinner and a time of communion & foot washing without much preparation – in fact the first time we did this in 2000 we decided Maundy Thursday morning.)
After our Seder we go out on the back porch and have a foot-washing. As we wash one another’s feet in a humble act of service, we share with them our love for them. We also read the account of Jesus washing the disciple feet from scripture. Then we bundle up and walk down the street to our local neighborhood park where we read the account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and we spend some time praying there. It certainly makes the scriptures come alive!
Since the Passion of Christ has come out on DVD a few years back, we have come home and watched that amazing movie depicting the final hours, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (although by this time it is quite late and the younger ones fall asleep on the couch)
The entire evening has become a favorite, much anticipated, not to miss event with our children. From Passover to Good Friday to Easter Sunday – these are the most cherished days of the year for me.