Our Seder Meal (The Christian Version)

A couple of weeks ago, 18 women gathered in our home for a celebration dinner called the Seder Meal. 012b0460bba202fc2008e14eb82bacb2b74da8cd2d This was the culmination of an offer my mother-in-law, Liz, gave to our Monday night bible study group two months ago—to come and preside over a beautiful time together, remembering our history as Christians through a Seder meal.  The Seder is a traditional Jewish meal, eaten during the Passover Celebration which is one of the most important traditions of the Jewish religion.  Seder means “order,” and the meal is such–done in a specific order, with meaning and symbolism connected to each bite.

Why celebrate as Christians?  Because the Passover event is a significant piece of our history too, as is all the content of the Old Testament.  To understand our history only magnifies the impact of Christ and his redeeming story.  So, we can participate in the Seder, and then 6 days later celebrate Easter!

You can find a Seder Meal Script here.  It will take you step by step through the entire ceremony.  Here are some pictures of our time together with brief descriptions, however I have only scratched the surface with my notes–there is deep and rich symbolism and “order” to this time of fellowship and remembrance.  I encourage you to look at the script and see if you would like to do one for a group of people in your life!

Our evening begins….

Before the guests arrive, Liz, my sister-in-law, Jennifer, and I finish preparing the table.

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We have laid out the Haggadah book, or “Story of Passover” from which we will read during the meal, and some matzah, or unleavened bread. The parsley is something we dip in salt-water and then eat–it is bitter!  This is to remind us of the bitterness and tears the Isrealites experienced during their time if slavery in Egypt.

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The guests arrive and take a seat.  Some of the women have been asked to do part of the “reading” during the meal, so they have place cards to spread them out around the table.  The “Lighting of the Passover Candles” is one of the first parts of the ceremony–we are getting ready to do this.  Also, notice the cups of wine–this is even a plan and ceremony with the wine–no sipping out of order!

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Liz begins.  As the leader, she has the main role of guiding us through the Seder.  She did a wonderful job of teaching and leading us through the intricate parts of the Seder story.

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This is the Haggadah.  It depicts the story of Passover, and in the Christian version, ties the symbolism to our journey with Christ.

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Liz models each step for us–this is the breaking of the bread.

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See how hard we are trying to follow directions?  It is a time of laughter and fun!

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There are some significant elements of the dinner–this plate represents a few.  The “lamb bone” represents the Passover Lamb that was sacrificed to save the first-born sons.  The egg represents new life, the Charoset, the sweetness that God brings after a time of bitterness in our lives.

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After we walked through the Haddagah, we ate a full meal filled with friendship, fellowship and remembrance.  We finished back in the Haddagah to wrap up the night.

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I think it’s fair to say we will all remember this special evening for a long time.  The experience added another layer to the Easter tradition–one of remembrance, history, and foundation in who we are as believers in God and Jesus.  I only hope you can enjoy the experience someday too! God Bless!

 

 

 

 

Do You Need A New Beginning?

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This is the time of year where I have to exert the most self-control—Easter candy is my weakness.  Somehow the combination of pure sugar (jelly beans) and melt-in-your-mouth-chocolate (Hershey’s Eggs) just does me in.

I love the candy, but I also love the holiday.  Furry and chocolate bunnies (hopefully not the same) aside, Easter signifies a season of hope and renewal.  It comes a few days or a few weeks after the first day of spring, which naturally speaks of rebirth, new growth, and life.  Just like the resurrection of Christ.  The death of Jesus on the cross reflects many hefty themes, such as triumph over sin, God’s love for his people, and the significance of the empty tomb, but the one theme that speaks most to me this Easter season is:

A New Beginning

 

For it is with the death of Christ that all of humankind was given a chance for a new beginning  in a relationship with God.

Why are new beginnings important to me?  Because we all need them.  They signify a second chance, a fresh start, a life to be lived in the full.  God is our second chance.  It is through a relationship with Him that we will find the perspective and strength for the new day.

What do you want to begin anew in your life?

A renewed committment to your marriage?  A new beginning in your faith?  A new life breathed into your career?  A renewed spirit during a time of long-suffering?  A new hope and effort toward healing a strained relationship?  A new beginning for something that ended in a difficult way?

Our God is a God of second chances, because He is always pursuing us, hoping we will take Him up on His offer for a new beginning.

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Easter symbolizes a new beginning for me, a reminder again of what I know:

that daily I will fail but I am forgiven,

that yearly I will see God’s plan play out in my life,

and for eternity I will walk with Him in paradise.

 

In his final moments of life, Jesus surrendered himself for our sin, paying the price so that we have a clean slate before God, if we choose to accept this gift of his son, the gift of a new life.

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Will you celebrate this Sunday new beginnings with me?

…And then begin a new diet with me after my Easter candy epic splurge?

Just 5 Minutes

Written By Amy

It is only 5 minutes long, but it could be life changing.  Please click on the music video below, it is worth your time! This beautiful song is one of my favorites and I could listen to it many, many times over.  It’s Easter in the flesh.

                                        Click Here:    In Christ Alone

 

 

 

Easter Egg Dying Party

 Written By Amy

Happy Easter week!  Easter welcomes in the spring with bunnies and colorful eggs and bright plastic grass.  More importantly, it is a remembrance of one of the greatest events in the history of mankind.  On Easter, after three dark, bitter and grief filled days, Jesus triumphantly rose from the dead, walked on the soft ground outside his displaced tombstone, and went forward to proclaim the truth of God’s love to humankind.

We have family traditions during Easter week, one of them gathering with friends to dye eggs together.  My friend Christine and I read the story of Easter to the kids from the bible (and picture books when they were younger) and discuss with them the meaning of the cross.  It’s a tradition we look forward to each year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah, her best friend Briana and Maddie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine (on right)  and Vera (her nanny and friend from Germany who was here for a visit) do a little egg coloring themselves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunter and Roxie (he wrote “Roxie”) on every one of his eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan, showing off his amazing eggs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg races!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter from Briana, Hannah, Brad, Dillon, Ryan, Hunter and Maddie!!

 

Here are some egg-dying tips from Squidoo:

How to make a perfectly hard boiled egg        

The first step to a great Easter egg is boiling the egg. You don’t want your eggs to crack, because then they don’t look as nice, and aren’t as appealing to eat when the dye seeps into the egg. Follow these instructions for a perfectly hard boiled egg.
Instructions Put a single layer of eggs in a large pot, and cover with COLD water (about 1 inch above eggs). Turn on the heat under the eggs and as soon as they come to a full boil, remove them from the heat and let them sit in the hot water for about 15-20 minutes.
After the 15-20 minutes either remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place in a colander, or drain hot water from pot then rinse eggs with cool water until eggs feel cool. Place on paper towels to dry.

 

Tye-Died Rubber Band Eggs 

Wrap several rubber bands around a hard-boiled egg (careful to not crack the egg!) Dip it into a bowl containing the mixture of food color, vinegar and water. Let it stay there for a while. Then remove the egg, pat it dry and take off the rubber bands. The areas covered by rubber bands will still have the original egg shell color and have a tye-dye effect.
You can dye the eggs a solid color before applying the rubber bands, or leave the eggs their original color.

 

What is your favorite Easter tradtion? Leave us a comment and let us know!

 

 

Wise Words : Easter

I have been reading John Pipers book called The Passion of Jesus Christ; Fifty Reasons Why He Came To Die. It has been an encouraging read in getting my head wrapped around why Jesus had to die and what is the big deal about Easter in the Christian faith. I have put the opening scripture that John Piper starts his book off with and then added part of the introduction. You can download this book for free at John Piper’s web site. I hope where ever you are in your faith journey that this book will encourage you.  I know it has been encouraging me!  If you are just checking Jesus out, this is a great philosophical read.  I hope you have a wonderful Easter.  He has risen, conquered sin and death for you and for me.  Jesus did not save us when we had it all together, but he died for us while we were living in sin.  He loves you and me.  There is nothing, not one big bad thing in your life that Jesus’ blood can not wash away.  He loves you, right now, the way you are.  He is our righteousness.  He stands at our door and knocks, if you open the door, he will come in.

Below is the scripture and the introduction to John Piper’s book.  If you don’t have time to read it now, find a minute this week to curl up with a cup of coffee and read this if you can.  It’s so good.

TO
Jesus Christ

Despised and rejected by men
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . .
we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. . . .

He was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people. . . .
There was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief.

The prophet Isaiah
Chapter 53, Verse 3-10

INTRODUCTION

The Christ, the Crucifixion,
and the Concentration Camps
The most important question of the twenty-first century is:
Why did Jesus Christ suffer so much? But we will never see
this importance if we fail to go beyond human cause. The ultimate
answer to the question, Who crucified Jesus? is: God did.
It is a staggering thought. Jesus was his Son. And the suffering
was unsurpassed. But the whole message of the Bible leads to this
conclusion.

God Meant It for Good
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah said, “It was the will of the LORD to
crush him; he has put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10). The Christian
New Testament says, “[God] did not spare his own Son but gave
him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). “God put [Christ] forward . . .
by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:25).
But how does this divine act relate to the horribly sinful actions
of the men who killed Jesus? The answer given in the Bible is
expressed in an early prayer: “There were gathered together
against your holy servant Jesus . . . both Herod and Pontius Pilate,
along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever
your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts
4:27-28). The depth and scope of this divine sovereignty takes our
breath away. But it is also the key to our salvation. God planned
it, and by the means of wicked men, great good has come to the
world. To paraphrase a word of the Jewish Torah: They meant it
for evil, but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20).
And since God meant it for good, we must move beyond the
question of human cause to divine purpose. The central issue of
Jesus’ death is not the cause, but the purpose—the meaning. Man
may have his reasons for wanting Jesus out of the way. But only
God can design it for the good of the world. In fact, God’s purposes
for the world in the death of Jesus are unfathomable. I am
scraping the surface in this little book as I introduce you to fifty
of them. My aim is to let the Bible speak. This is where we hear
the word of God. I hope that these pointers will set you on an endless
quest to know more and more of God’s great design in the
death of his Son.

What Does the Word PASSION Mean?
We associate at least four things with the word passion: sexual
desire, zeal for a task, an oratorio by J. S. Bach, and the sufferings
of Jesus Christ. The word comes from a Latin word meaning suffering.
That is the way I am using it here—the sufferings and death
of Jesus Christ. But it relates to all the other passions as well. It
deepens sex, inspires music, and carries forward the greatest cause
in the world.

How Was the Passion of Jesus Unique?
Why did the suffering and execution of a man who was convicted
and condemned as a pretender to the throne of Rome unleash, in
the next three centuries, a power to suffer and to love that transformed
the Roman Empire, and to this day is shaping the world?
The answer is that the passion of Jesus was absolutely unique, and
his resurrection from the dead three days later was an act of God
to vindicate what his death achieved.
His passion was unique because he was more than a mere
human. Not less. He was, as the ancient Nicene Creed says, “very
God of very God.” This is the testimony of those who knew him
and were inspired by him to explain who he is. The apostle John
referred to Christ as “the Word” and wrote, “In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through
him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. . . .
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen
his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and
truth” (John 1:1-3, 14).
Then add to his deity that he was utterly innocent in his suffering.
Not just innocent of the charge of blasphemy, but of all sin.
One of his closest disciples said, “He committed no sin, neither was
deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). Then add to this uniqueness
that he embraced his own death with absolute authority. One
of the most stunning statements Jesus ever made was about his own
death and resurrection: “I lay down my life that I may take it up
again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own
accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take
it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John
10:17-18). The controversy about who killed Jesus is marginal. He
chose to die. His Father ordained it. He embraced it.

His Passion Was Vindicated by the Resurrection
Because of this unparalleled passion, God raised Jesus from the
dead. It happened three days later. Early Sunday morning he rose
from the dead. He appeared numerous times to his disciples for
forty days before his ascension to heaven (Acts 1:3).
The disciples were slow to believe that it really happened. They
were not gullible primitives. They were down-to-earth tradesmen.
They knew people did not rise from the dead. At one point Jesus
insisted on eating fish to prove to them that he was not a ghost
(Luke 24:39-43). This was not the resuscitation of a corpse. It was
the resurrection of the God-Man, into an indestructible new life.
The early church acclaimed him Lord of heaven and earth. They
said, “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right
hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus had finished
the work God gave him to do, and the resurrection was the proof
that God was satisfied. This book is about what Jesus’ passion
accomplished for the world.

The Passion of Jesus Christ
Fifth Reasons Why He Came to Die
John Piper
Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004 p. 11-14)

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