Seder Passover Service (Senses of Taste & Smell)

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This is the culmination of our 4 part series of communion messages on the 5 Senses of the Passover.

1. Welcome

Welcome to the Westside Church of Christ
If this is your first time with us, we are very excited to share this unique experience with you. We are thrilled about this service today – our very first Christian Seder Passover Service. Passover is this Wednesday (April 8th). So this is a perfect time for us to examine what we as Christians can learn from this age-old, God-ordained event. From the outset, let’s begin by setting expectations.

This Church Service this morning is NOT a traditional Jewish Passover Meal. Instead, this is an examination of the Seder from a Christian perspective. So today is about TASTING, rather than EATING. And finally, this service is a Christian experience. There will be a Communion, the celebration instituted by Christ as a type of Passover in the New Covenant. The question for us is, “What was Jesus’ Last Supper like?” It was one of the few events commemorated in all 4 Gospels. What was the Last Supper like? When the 12 joined Jesus for this Last Supper, this Last Seder – what was their experience?

Anthony asked me to share about how this special service came to be. Each Friday night our married Bible Talk gathers (incl. kids), we eat a meal and we have a great discussion.
Well, 3 years ago, Erik and Lisa organized a Seder Meal for our Bible Talk. They organized everything. The Food. The Haggadah. The entire Seder. And they explained to us how God instituted the Passover to be a constant reminder of God’s salvation. And God used the ingenius method of appealing to each of our 5 senses in order to help us remember. The Seder incorporates the senses of touch, sight, and hearing – but especially the senses of taste and smell.

2. Sharing

Mike Newman will now share his perspective about the Seder Passover meal as a Jewish Christian

3. Removal of the Chametz

Exodus 12:14-20
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD -a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat—that is all you may do.  17 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

Please get out your Haggadah.   Let’s read Part 2 “Removal of the Chametz
In the days preceding Passover, it is tradition to clean the house thoroughly, and the evening before the Passover Seder any trace of chametz (leaven, pronounced ka-mets) is removed from the house. Leaven (yeast) is a necessary element in baking and wine making. However, it was viewed somewhat ambiguously because it also has the power to decay and destroy. Even Jesus used it as both a positive and negative metaphor. In Jewish tradition it came to have more of a negative connotation as a religious symbol, signifying the potential for corruption and sin.

Removal “Ceremony”
Now we have a special treat. Five children are going to join us up front. Their job will be to find the Chametz and remove it. We have hidden five “yeast-infected” pieces of bread in the room. And the kids will each find & remove 1 piece of bread – by taking it out of the back of auditorium. Kids – are you ready?  Let’s go!

 (At this point the children scatter throughout the auditorium as each tries to locate and remove 1 piece of bread)

4. Discussion on “Yeast”

Now THAT is what the Bible calls ZEAL. We’ve seen how active the kids can be. But now it is time for YOU to be active.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

Based on this scripture, please take the next 5 minutes to discuss the following question at each of your tables: What lessons does God want us to learn from the Old Testament concept of yeast?”

5. Lighting of the Candles

As the Haggadah points out, the candles symbolize the presence of God and signify that the Seder Meal has now begun. Let’s read these passages together:

Exodus 13:21-22
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. 

Hebrews 12:29 proclaims for our God is a consuming fire.“ 

For a moment I want you to think about how you would have FELT if you were there – witnessing this Pillar of Cloud.  I think of a Tornado! A scary, controlled Tornado. And at night – a Fiery Tornado. How would you have felt? If you were a Jew, you would have felt COMFORT! SAFETY! But if you were an Egyptian, you would have felt THREATENED! FEARFUL!

See, how you feel about God, completely DEPENDS on your attitude/position towards him. He is ALMIGHTY God – and that either COMFORTS you or makes you very UNCOMFORTABLE.

Fire gives light. Fire helps us cook. First keeps you warm. Fire IS powerful – and it is to be RESPECTED

6. Reading of the Exodus

We are now going to hear 3 kids reading the account of the Exodus (Sam Newman, Chris Galang, Michael Bruce). And before that, let’s stand up together and sing a hymn – “The Spirit’s Fire”

Congregational song: The Spirit’s Fire

Reading of the Exodus account.

7. Discussion on “The Seder Plate”

At this time, you are now going to engage all 5 senses.

Luke 22:7-20
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover Lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”  “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He willshow you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.“ They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.“ After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.“ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

I’d like to ask each and every one of you to taste the various parts of the plate (except the egg and the meat). Please smell every thing, and consider its meaning. And I’d like to ask each table to take the next 10 minutes to discuss the following question: “Which element of the Seder Plate is the most meaningful for you personally?”

8. Communion

At this time we come to the Communion portion of our service. Rodell will perform the song “El Shaddai” before we participate in the body and blood of our Lord. God has many names in the Old Testament. And one of them is El Shaddai – which in Hebrews means “God of the Mountains” or “God Almighty”. The song is perfect for this Christian Seder service.  It commemorates our common Father of the Faith, Abraham. It speaks of God’s salvation in the Exodus/Passover and how God led Israel through the Red Sea. And lastly, it ties it all together in Jesus being OUR sacrificial lamb, OUR salvation. So when the song is finished, someone at each table should please pray for the bread, and pass around the matzoh bread and partake of “the body of Christ”.  Then have a second prayer for the fruit of the vine as you drink of the cup that represents the “blood of the New Covenant”.

Performance: El Shaddai

Communion prayers at each table

9. Contribution

Now we come to the weekly offering.

Exodus 12:35-36
The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

In these difficult times, we can sometimes feel like we are completely at the mercy of others’ decisions. Your current boss, potential employer, financial advisor, your company policies, the stock market, the federal interest rate, etc…

Here we see that God made the slave-owners “favorably disposed” to the Israelites – to the point that the Bible says that the Jews “plundered” them. It seems that they gave of their own free will, yet were influenced by the Lord. All the Israelites had to do was (a) believe and (b) ask. I am not saying that your boss will give you a raise if you ask him, but I am challenging us all to believe that God CAN make people “favorably disposed” to you if he desires, but you will have to also act.

Thank you for your power. You are a fire. You are El Shaddai – God Almighty. You can move to work in our lives in inexplicable ways. And you can make even our enemies favorably disposed to us. Please take our offering of faith and use it to lead many to a knowledge of you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Concluding remarks and announcements

All of this was inspired originally by Erik and Lisa York.

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