Pre-order time for the Vine of David haggadah is here. See bottom of this article for info. . . . If you’re like me and about forty million other Americans (Jewish and non-Jewish), you love Passover. Sure, you may have been through one or two boring Seders. I’m sure the leaders meant well. But hopefully you’ve also had the thrill of a night of remembrance where the mood transcended time and space, where you felt a part of something bigger, and where you knew redemption is no religious fantasy, but the order of the universe and the direction the Holy One is moving all things.
I thought about calling this post “Passover Ideas for Messianic Jews,” but I am aware that not only do Christians and Judeo-Christians read Messianic Jewish Musings, but also many traditional and/or secular Jewish people come here. They rarely comment. But, let’s face it: we’re more excited, on the average, than more normative Jewish groups about things like Passover.
In this post, I want to convince you not to just have one Seder this year . . . not just the one with mom and dad or the one with your synagogue or the one with your family and a few guests on the first night. But wait! you say. That’s a lot of work to set up more than one night. Not at all. You can have some even more enjoyable experiences by having more than one Seder and most of them can be informal.
Reasons to Have More Than One Seder
(1) According to tradition you should have a Seder at least the first and second night of Passover.
(2) According to a more modern and mystical tradition, there is a special Messianic Seder on the 7th night (the Meal of Messiah).
(3) In Second Temple times, pilgrims came at least seven days before Passover to Jerusalem in order to be in a ritually pure state for the feast. Many had “pre-Passover” meals with Exodus themes. Josephus gives us some evidence of this practice.
(4) For Messianic Jews and Christians, it is significant that Yeshua had a “Passover-themed” meal without a lamb on the night before the Seder (see Part 1 and Part 2 of “Passover, Last Supper, Crucifixion: 2011 Notes” posted recently here for a thorough explanation of this timing).
(5) David Arnow (Creating Lively Passover Seders and a contributor to My People’s Passover Haggadah, Vols. 1 and 2, notes that no Seder must include the full reading of the haggadah. It is kosher and even recommended to choose different emphases at different Seders and be creative.
A Suggested Plan for 2011 and Multiple Seders
I’m going to be posting some “Themed Seders” here on Messianic Jewish Musings. I am already thinking through a “Captivity & Freedom” Seder which I will spell out even with page numbers in the Vine of David haggadah (and probably in the Wiesel haggadah also).
Sunday night, April 17: On this night (on the Jewish calendar…I’m not talking about day of the week here), Yeshua and the disciples had a Passover-like meal with Exodus themes and redemption theology centered on Yeshua’s death the next day. For Messianic Jews and Christians this is a good night to have a Passover type meal, to do a little reading in the haggadah, and to have a memorial with matzah and wine. We could call this one the “Meal of Yeshua” or a “Night of Remembrance.”
Monday night, April 18: The first night Seder. This is usually a family Seder for most people. It might be a good night to do the “Captivity & Freedom” Seder plan I will lay out. I will likely do a “Family With Young Kids” Seder plan that might be good for this night. Or, get David Arnow’s book and plan out your family’s Seder with some creative touches.
Tuesday night, April 19: The second night Seder. This is when we have our congregational Seder. I will lead the “Captivity & Freedom” Seder here in Roswell, Georgia. If you would have a second Seder with family, this could be a more informal night or you might try one of my other Seder outlines as I eventually post them (well before Passover, I assure you).
Wednesday – Saturday nights: Why not have Passover decorations still going on and keep a good Passover theme at the table? You might keep haggadahs out and have additional reading and conversation. You might print out articles from here on Passover and read and discuss them. If you have My People’s Passover Haggadah, Vols. 1 & 2, you might read sections or commentary and discuss, or The JPS Haggadah Commentary. If nothing else, read texts from Exodus, history Psalms (78, 105, 106), and the gospels concerning the Last Supper and Death of Messiah.
Sunday night, April 24: Have a “Meal of Messiah” Seder. Get Vine of David’s Meal of Messiah, which I hope will be available here for pre-order already.
You can call FFOZ/Vine of David at 800-775-4807.