Christians Who Celebrate Passover

Christians Who Celebrate Passover March 30, 2015

Fun fact: A lot of Christians celebrate Passover.

Passover is a Jewish holiday. An article on Charisma News describes it like this:

Passover is one of seven Levitical Feasts or “appointed times,” according to the Hebrew meaning of “feast.” The feasts are dates God has calendared to meet with His people according to seasons He has set. Passover was never meant to be mere ritual, but an encounter with the Eternal One.

Practically speaking, Passover is a week of special rules and rituals. These rituals commemorate the flight of the Jews from Egypt–when they had to leave so quickly, there was no time for bread to rise. This is why many Jews don’t eat leavened bread during Passover (and why you can find matzoh bread prominently displayed in grocery stores this time of year). “Passover” comes from one of the plagues that God sent on the Egyptians when the Pharaoh refused to free the Jews: God “passed over” the Jews while killing every firstborn child in Egypt.

A Passover table, c/o April Killingsworth
A Passover table, c/o April Killingsworth

People clean their houses and keep kosher for this week. They also go to special services and hold Seder meals. A Seder is a ritual meal where different parts recall different aspects of the Jews’ flight from Egypt. For example, you eat bitter herbs to remember the bitterness of the Jews’ slavery, and parsley dipped in saltwater to remember the Jews’ tears as well as the spring and their escape.

The White House holds a Seder each Passover, as do many churches. A member of my church is organizing a Passover Seder to commemorate not only the Jews who fled Egypt, but also other groups who fled (and flee) their home countries.

As a kid, I went to a Catholic church across the street from a Jewish temple–rather poetically, I thought. Each year, our CCD (a catechism class) class would go over to the temple and have a Seder with rabbi. Or, we held one in our church hall. I always dreaded the bitter herbs, which we ate as horseradish. Catholics seem to have a special appreciation for our religion’s roots in Judaism, and celebrating the Seder was one way of embracing it.

If you’re a Christian, do you celebrate Passover? What does the Seder meal mean to you?

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