If you've never celebrated any of the Jewish feasts or weekly Sabbath, I cannot put into words how valuable this has been for our family. Every feast points to Jesus, and makes the Old Testament come to life in a very practical way. The ritual and tradition will be hallmarks in our children's lives, and each meal brings a special reflection and experience to bring our focus on God. We are still learning how to put on this meal, and each year gets better and easier. One thing that has been helpful for me in a world of Google is to look at the scripture to see how to celebrate this feast. Looking in the Old and New Testament, I see just a few simple things. (See Exodus 12, Leviticus 23:5-8, and Matthew 26:17-30)
- Remove all things with yeast in your home (bread, yeast in the cupboard, boxed food with yeast, etc)
- Share the story of the Passover and Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt
- Eat three things: roasted lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.
- Eat unleaved bread for 7 days following Passover
- Do not work on the first and last day, and recognize the first and last day in the feast
- Break bread, eat, and remember Jesus' broken body for us
- Drink wine (or juice) and remember Jesus' shed blood us
I have put a link to a script that Kenny and I pieced together to use with a few families gathered together this Saturday night. There are some traditions we like and have incorporated into our meal. We will let the children find a few pieces of bread hid around the room, let them ask four central questions, talk about symbolism seen in each element, and eat our meal on the ground. You can view the script here.
So what about a big Easter meal? I do not want to make two big meals, but Easter is special too. This day is the fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits (or Harvest), and as a person who does not literally offer up the first of my grain harvest, I thought about what food I would buy that shows the first of the harvest. I thought about strawberries and how they are just appearing in the store with seasonal prices. So, I will find a nice recipe for Strawberry Cake to serve on Sunday in lieu of a big Easter meal. We will read 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 and talk about how Jesus was raised from the dead and everyone who belongs to Him will be given new life. At the center of it all, that's the central thought to guide us all during this special time. Praise to God for just being close to us, pursuing us, revealing himself to us through the Bible and rituals like Passover. Praise to God for redeeming us, and loving us more than we will ever comprehend.