Staying True to the Spirit of the Seder

by Lynn "lynnibug" Rios on April 5th, 2014
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seder plateA few weeks prior to Passover, I was approached with a guide for an abbreviated Seder to review.  I had actually created a Seder program several years ago that was true to the Jewish traditions while revealing the presence of Jesus as the focus of the program.  Because it was traditional in its structure, it was a long program, about 2 hours including the meal, and the Christian attendees got a bit antsy about three quarters through it.  I reviewed the new 9 page program (two pages of which were illustrations) and was stunned.  This was not a Seder at all.  It did not tell the story, which is the primary purpose of the Seder.  It was at best a 15 to 20 minute class on the symbolism of the Seder elements, but it did not have the heart of a true Seder.  I looked at the advance flyer advertising the event, then read over the program again, and the thought that sprang to mind was “false advertising”!  This was not, in my mind, a Seder at all.

 

Through all of the centuries since the Exodus from Egypt occurred, the Jewish people have handed down this story of redemption year after year through a celebration and ceremony that has changed little.  It is like the glue that has held the Jewish people together, though oppressed and scattered across the globe.  It is a common thread that makes us a people.  No matter what the language, the culture, or the circumstance that exist in a given time or place, the experience is universal and connects us all.  The story is retold… once we were slaves in Egypt, and with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm the Eternal God delivered us in keeping with the covenant made with Abraham.  We have told, and retold the details of that story, handing it down from one generation to the next, and it cements in us our Jewish identity.

 

Trying to share the Passover experience without including the story of the Exodus as a key component, in my mind is doomed to be a hollow experience.  There is no purpose as it excludes the most important truth that is taught in the Seder, redemption by the grace of God.  So I took the old program and began to whittle away at it, taking out all of the fluff, and leaving the bare bones of what makes a Seder a Seder, and pared it down to 10 pages of text.  Hopefully, that will be short enough.

 

I know that people have busy lives, myself included, but some things we just need to make time for.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and if you can’t allow the time necessary to do it well, perhaps you should not do it at all.  Celebrating the Passover by retelling the story opens an individual’s heart to receive the blessings of the Passover.  I, for one, want to receive them all, not just some of them.  In his book, “Seven Blessings of the Passover”, Steve Munsey lists these blessings and explains them in great detail.

1.    Exodus 23:20, 23 God will assign you an angel
2.    Exodus 23:22 God will be an enemy to your enemies
3.    Exodus 23:25 God will give you prosperity
4.    Exodus 23:25 God will take away sickness from you
5.    Exodus 23:26 God will give you a long life
6.    Exodus 23:30 God will cause increase and inheritance
7.    Exodus 23:29, 31 God will cause a year of blessing and return what the enemy has taken

I am certainly willing to set aside an hour or two for that!  How about you?

 

Blessings & Adventure,

 

Lynn “lynnibug” Rios

 

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Categories: Holidays, Wisdom Journeys

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