For the last seven years I’ve hosted a Passover Seder. The guest list has grown from about 20 people to over 60. Now if you are not familiar with a Seder, it is a magnificent feast. It takes a lot of work. And sometimes – especially at the end of the night – I wonder if it’s worth it. But then I remember that the Seder is more than just a fabulous meal. The Passover Seder is a family worship service that ensures the story of redemption is told. And after all Jesus did for us, how could we not celebrate?
What amazes me is that Jesus longed to celebrate this meal with His disciples. Even knowing what He would face at the end, He tells us in Luke that He ‘fervently desired’ to have the Passover with them. Through the years we have come to call it ‘The Last Supper’. But it is actually Jesus’ last Seder.
There are many more traditions in the Seder today than there was in Egypt. However, it is interesting to see God’s hand throughout history, moving His people to establish traditions that speak volumes of His love and His redemptive work through His Son Jesus. And Jesus Himself practiced this ordinance every year. Why? Because the Passover is a Feast of the Lord, as it says in Leviticus 23, ‘On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover.’
Now in preparation for this worship service, we start with the Search for Chametz, which is leaven. Why such a preoccupation with leavened bread? Leavened bread is similar to evil because both grow by force and not by reason. In Hebrew, the difference between the words Chametz and Matzah is one tiny fraction of a line in one letter. So too is the difference between good and evil, true and false.
Years ago I made a Barbie house for my daughter. I built it with my own pattern using 1/4“plywood. I’ve got to tell you that I had the hardest time with the peaked roof. You see, I was trying to make a miter joint. In carpentry, when making a miter joint, the tiniest fraction of a difference will cause the whole joint to be off. Over and over I had to scrap the wood because I couldn’t get the parts to true up.
God used that frustration to teach me an important lesson. When we move off of the ‘true’ of His word, we end up down the wrong path. We no longer walk in His ways.
So in preparation for this meal that celebrates our redemption, we search inside ourselves. We ask God to show us anything that is wrong, sinful, and false. Then as we move out of Egypt/the world, and toward His promised land, we look more like the people of God than people of the world.
In learning all this, I started thinking about Catholicism. You see, I was raised Catholic. As a child, I always wondered why we couldn’t take communion if we didn’t go to confession on Saturday. Could it be that Saturday confession is the search for Chametz – the cleaning out of sin before participating in the Lord’s Seder Meal?
This is just one tidbit of information that celebrating the Seder brings to light. Stay tuned for more.