Thursday, March 25, 2010

Senses and the Seder

After years of reading about and hearing testimony about, I finally attended my first Passover Meal last night. It is an amazing, rich, and symbolic ceremony that has been faithfully done for over 3500 years among the people of Israel.

The experience, as a Christian, moved me to tears as the smell and tastes put me in touch with our Covenant-keeping God and His story of redemption and salvation.

This was performed in a Christian church by a Christian who has studied and participated in this event for a long time. I want to be careful here in that my desire is not to offend any orthodox Jewish believer, but the many references to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ as the Messiah was inspirational.

Of course the context of the Passover has to be linked to the story of Moses and the Angel of Death passing over the houses of the Israelites who covered the doorposts of their homes with the blood of the lamb. But as a Christian, I see all of the Old Testament as God's interaction with real history to provide a stage for His dramatic entrance as the God/Man who dies to take away the sin of the world.

I take both testaments together. 'The New Testament is in the Old Testament contained, The Old Testament is in the New testament explained'. And God's Word is so rich and so deep.

In this over 2 hour ceremony I got to enter into the rich symbolism of God's story.

A couple of points:

1) The Bitterness and Bondage of Sin. The Seder is built un a foundation of purity. White linens and the purging of leaven in a huge part of this. Children are involved in finding and getting the Father to remove the leaven. We eat bitter herbs (in my case it was horseradish) to create the taste and memory of the pain of sin. We taste the salt of tears as this life is spent in the shadows of sin and shame. And we also get to mix the bitterness with sweetness as hope to hang on. The seder ceremony is clear- God must judge sin.

2) A New Appreciation for the Lord's Supper/Communion. When I saw the Passover meal and where Jesus instituted the Lord's supper, I was blown away. 'This is my body broken for you' was the afikoman (the middle of three stacked matzah- broken- hidden- found- redeemed by a coin- appears- a first fruit) the 2nd Person of the Trinity who was crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected. The Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. When Jesus offered the 3rd cup after the meal He said, 'This is the 'cup of the new covenant' was the cup of blessing as can be seen as a marriage/betrothal cup of Christ toasting His bride- the church. I belong to Him in faith, I have been bought with a price- the precious blood of Christ. It is the Cup of Redemption.

3) A New Inspiration to Prepare: Jesus did not drink the last cup of the Seder- the one after the Halel (the haleluiah). As the bridegroom, He has departed to prepare a room for me. The Father will allow Him to return, like a thief in the night. I am promised to Him and I need to stay alert and be prepared and faithful. From now on when I dring the cup of the new covenant, I will remember Whose I am- I have been paid for in full.

My encouragement for all people- Jewish or Gentile- Rich or Poor- Slave or Free- to look upon the offer of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who offers a relationship that is received as a gift through repentance (giving ourselves up to Him) and faith (trusting His acts and promises)- and call upon Him and wait for the Day of His return where will will drink the last cup in the New Jerusalem. Want you join me?

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 19: 6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our Godthe Almighty reigns.7 Let us rejoice and exultand give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,and his Bride has made herself ready;8 it was granted her to clothe herselfwith fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

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