Our Easter Love Feast

I almost feel guilty writing the title to this post. We watched “James Tembo, Detective” Saturday night at church. Joan said she didn’t remember the sound being so bad, I am still blind to all technical difficulties. For Joan and I, watching the film just makes us feel plain good. It has been almost six years and I know that pulling off the production of the film is one of the reasons so many of those involved are doing as well as they are both spiritually and materially. Accomplishing tasks is one of the healthiest things a person can do.

Sunday morning I preached from Ex 12 using the phrase of “taking ownership” following the logic of “a lamb”, “the lamb” and finally “your lamb”. We then went home and put the finishing touches on our Jewish dishes for our “love feast”. We bring the dishes to church. We have the tables all set with candles and nice table cloths. We are sitting in a large U shape with our oldest couples at the head of the table. The dishes are divided up into 5 serving bowls and placed on the tables. We can all sit together and begin eating together without standing in a buffet line.

I re-read two books every year at this time: “Christ in the Passover” and “The Blood Covenant”. It does something to your faith when you compare the ancient seder, Jesus’ Last Supper seder and the modern seder. Combine Jesus’ last earthly conversation with His disciples at the last supper with Trumbull’s work and it brings a new sense of meaning to the words “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.

We showed “Messiah: Prophecy Fulfilled” for Sunday School that morning. I think we captured elements of faith as well as a time of comfortable fellowship. Here was my written format:

Our Seder

Opening prayer of blessing from God. We drink the first cup. 

We taste the bitter herbs, salted water and charoseth. Explanation of slavery and our redemption from it. 

“He whom the son sets free is free indeed”.

We have a prayer of thanksgiving and then we drink the second cup. 

We eat our meal.

The third cup was to be drunk after the end of the meal. Jesus on the night of the last supper took bread, breaking it saying: “This is my body” and gave it to the disciples to eat. He broke tradition because nothing was to be eaten after the lamb had been eaten.  

Remembering this action let us look at a modern seder. Three matzo crackers are put together by the host. He takes out the second (aphikomen) one and breaks it. He then places the broken matzo in a napkin and it is hid for one of the children to find just before drinking the third cup. The rabbis have informed us that this matzo represents the lamb that cannot be eaten since in cannot be sacrificed properly at the temple. The matzo is found and the host breaks off pieces for all to eat, just as Christ did at the last supper.

This tradition appeared in the seder during the times when Christians were still considered part of Judaism and they inserted this custom into the dinner and it has remained to this day. 

We eat the matzo.

Jesus after distributing the broken matzo lifted the third cup (the cup of redemption because it represents the blood of the lamb) and broke tradition again. He said: “This cup is the new testament in my blood, that is shed for you”. 

We drink the third cup. 

We sing, preach or testify as the spirit leads as the food has been finished. All is done and we conclude with a closing prayer and the drinking of the fourth cup.

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About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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