Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Passover Seder and Christian Service Tradition

A few years ago we revived a tradition that we started with our friends when our own children were young.  Near Easter/Passover we would have a Seder coupled with a Christian communion service.  The Passover meal is considered to be the meal celebrated with Jesus and his Apostles on Holy Thursday.  Celebrating the Passover traditions and coupling it with Christian rituals is an enriching experience for people in the Christian tradition and connects us to our Jewish roots.  Our children always enjoyed this special evening and they learned in a hands-on way how our faith heritages are connected.

In 2013 grandparents – on both sides – felt great that the girls remembered this so fondly and wanted their children to experience it but we were concerned about how it would work with a 2 and 3 year old.  We decided to proceed cautiously and be flexible.  I wrote about our first Seder with our grandsons in this 2013 post.

We all listened attentively as Joan read the Passover book
Now the boys are older and at this year’s Seder, they were eager to participate.  We followed a similar format as we had a few years ago.  First we gathered in the living room and Joan, the other Grandmother, read a Passover book and both boys listened attentively and made comments.  Before she even began to read, her grandson asked if he could ask questions. They remembered searching for the afikomen and where they found it. They both engaged with Joan as she read the Passover book.  It set the stage for what would happen during the Seder.

Then we went to the dining room table for our own Seder.  We used a script and took turns reading. This year our grandson is in first grade and he took his turn reading.  I was really impressed with his ability to read from the script when it was his turn.  There was no accommodation of something simple to read – it was just his turn.  He needed a little help reading parsley but not much else.  The boys had grape juice in stemmed glasses and each sampled some of the Seder foods.

I think they most enjoyed opening the front door for Elijah and finding the afikomen. Two young boys always want to get up and move around and for it to be something you are supposed to do – well now that’s a good deal. Yes – we had two afikomen (Matzoh wrapped in a napkin) hidden in different places.  My grandson was proud that he could also participate in the reading.

After the Seder service, we enjoyed a meal together – 2 families, 3 generations celebrating and enjoying a religious and historically cultural experience together.  Joan and I are already talking about updating some of the material as the boys are older and are ready for a more advanced version next year.

I encourage you to adapt your religious and spiritual rituals for the young children in your families and to establish traditions.  Our grown children love the traditions they experienced as young children and now I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate these traditions with our grandchildren.

Biblical References
Old Testament:   Exodus 12:1-14
New Testament:   John 13:1-17, 31b-35

2 comments: said...

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing. We might have some ideas on our blog that would be helpful to you. In addition to the other traditions we do, we do a Seder reenactment where everyone is up from the table, moving from place to place, till we walk through the Red Sea. If I can share anything specific with you, please don't hesitate to ask.

Marion Conway said...

Thank you for your comments. We will explore your blog for new ideas. You example sounds very interesting.