Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Seder

The first time I participated in an Easter Seder was several years ago when a lovely and talented lady I know, planned one for the women at my church.  She explains it in great and eloquent detail HERE or HERE on her blog.  The following is my attempt to recreate that lovely evening for my family.
Before we began I gathered my family in the living room. I had them remove their shoes and I explained to them that a Seder is the name used for the ceremonial feast eaten by Jews to celebrate Passover.  We discussed that in this feast Jewish people eat food that symbolizes the time in their history when the Hebrews were the slaves of the Egyptians and how the Lord delivered them.  Each food eaten during the Seder is eaten in a special order with a special meaning.  I further explained that we do not eat the Passover Feast because we are Christians. I told them we were going to eat a similar feast but our food would be depicting the last week of the Savior's life and  it would be called an Easter Seder. Everyone was instructed to move to the dining room but not to touch anything on the table until they received special instruction.
Above are the items that were served at our Seder and the items needed to complete the feast.  Below are the steps to complete the Easter Seder. I wrote out and laminated each step so that we could reuse them each year.  

1. Palm Sunday
Discussion of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a Donkey where he was met like royalty.  The people threw palm leaves on the ground in his path.  Everyone throws their palm leaf on the ground and eats their heart of palm.
2. Monday
Jesus curses the fig tree for not bringing forth good fruit. This is to remind us to do good works and repent or we too will wither and die.  Everyone eats the fig. (FIG NEWTON)
3. Monday
Jesus cleanses the temple by throwing out the money changers. (Mark 11:17)  Everyone throws a coin over their shoulder.
4. Tuesday
Jesus teaches a sermon on the Mount of Olives. He teaches the 1st and 2nd great commandments. (Mark 12:30-31)  Everyone eats their olives.
5. Tuesday
 A woman anoints Jesus with an expensive ointment or oil.  She is mocked by Jesus's disciples who believe she should have sold the oil to give money to the poor, but Jesus explains that she has done a good work by preparing his body for burial.  Everyone dips a piece of unleavened/pita bread in oil and eats it.
6. Thursday
Jesus eats the Passover in Jerusalem.  As part of the Passover Seder Jesus would have eaten Haroset with Bitter Herbs and Unleavened Bread.  The haroset was a representation of the brick and mortar that the Hebrews had to build for the Egyptians.  Everyone eats the Haroset with Bitter Herbs (Horseradish) spread on their Unleavened Bread (Matzoh Cracker). Bitter Herbs and Unleavened Bread were the two items the Lord asked the Hebrews to eat when the destroying angel was killing all the first born in Egypt.
7. Thursday
 Jesus blessed and broke the bread. He told His disciples to eat in remembrance of His body. Everyone eats a piece of pita bread.
8. Thursday
Jesus blesses the wine and gives it to His disciples to drink in remembrance of his blood which is shed for all.  Everyone drinks the grape juice.
9. Thursday 
After dinner Jesus washes the feet of His apostles.  He taught that he also cleansed them of their sins.  (John 13:14-15) Everyone takes turns washing one another's feet.
10. Thursday Late
  Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  (Luke 22:4)  He drank of the bitter cup as he suffered for the sins and pain of all mankind. Everyone drinks the bitter cup of cranberry juice.
11.  Friday Morning 
Jesus was betrayed by Judas and taken prisoner.  His disciple Peter betrays Him three times before the Cock Crows Friday morning, just as Jesus had prophesied.  When Peter heard the Cock Crow that morning he realized what he had done and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75)  Everyone dips a piece of chicken in salt water and eats it.
12. Friday
Jesus is turned over to Pontius Pilate.  Pilate found him to be an innocent man but the Jews insisted He be crucified.  Pilate washes his hands before the multitudes saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person. (Matthew 27:24, 26)  Everyone washes their hands.
13.Friday Afternoon
 Jesus is beaten and given a crown of thorns.  They take Him to Golgotha and crucify him between two thieves.  Jesus cries to His Father in Heaven, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 13:24)  One of the guards gives Jesus a sponge dipped in Vinegar to quench His thirst.  After he drank the vinegar He bowed His head and allowed Himself to die. (John 19:30)  Everyone dips a piece of bread in vinegar and eats it.
14. Friday Evening 
When Jesus died the veil of the temple was rent in twain.  Everyone tears a piece of cloth in half from top to bottom.
15. Saturday
 Jesus was removed from the cross and His body was laid in a the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea.  Everyone keeps silent for one minute.
16. Sunday Morning
Mary Magdelene visits the tomb. She brought with her sweet spices that she might anoint His body. (Mark 16:1)  Angels told Mary that the Lord was Risen. (Luke 24: 5-6)  Everyone eats a piece of risen bread with sweet spices. We used a cinnamon roll.

It might require some preparation but this was such a special experience for our family. The kids were reverent and patient and I think that they not only felt the Spirit but learned more about their Savior.

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