And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?' you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'" And the people bowed low and worshiped.
In many ways smaller congregations are blessed by their size because some things take on more meaning in small groups. Having a traditional Seder Meal might be one of them. It would also give members of the congregation a taste of Jewish history and tradition.
The Seder is considered the Jewish Thanksgiving as it is the Passover Dinner giving thanks to God for protecting the first born as the Angel of Death passed over the homes anointed with the blood of the lamb (Exodus 12). It is also the Last Supper as hosted by Jesus with his disciples before He was sacrificed and asked us to do this in remembrance of Him (Matthew 26). It is the Feast of Unleavened Bread that we celebrate every time we take Holy Communion.
A full Seder usually takes place within a family and can take 2 to 4 hours so I would recommend a representative or symbolic Seder. If you do it before the Maundy Thursday communion service it will add greater meaning to that service and might be a really cool tradition to do with your youth. Here are my suggestions:
- Allow about 2 hours for the whole celebration which includes the reading of the script and the dinner.
- It's typically done in families but I did it once with a larger group at church and it was nice for us all to do it together and not at separate tables. Do what works best for your group and seating area.
- If you do it with your youth be sure to have a few adults read the adult parts as it's important to the tradition.
- Have a lot of people involved in the cooking. Many hands make light work!
You can get more detailed information on what to serve and a script for the ceremony by going to the Women for Faith and Family's website. I also found a really nice script that includes the actions that take place at The Voice. If you like many details including recipes and even a shopping list look at The Faithful Word.
I quite enjoyed the tradition and history and being able to participate in something so meaningful to us as Christians. Give it a try!