We went from the havoc of having my son’s family home to more family home. Chris left just in time to miss our surprise snow storm. Had he stayed, they would have been stuck here another two days. But I am told they drove out of the snowy weather south of Minneapolis and the roads were clear all the way to Colorado.
We celebrated the Passover twice this year, once with Chris and his family and daughter-in-law Wendy’s family (23 people in all) on Tuesday night. Then again last night for his two sisters and their families. Our family has been celebrating a family sedar (the passover meal) for 33 years, we figured out. No, we are not Jewish, but Jesus was and we have been taught that he celebrated the Passover with his family. The liturgy of Thursday night before Easter is meant to commemorate the last time he did so with his friends. It is also deemed to be the beginning of what we now know as the Eucharist, the blessing of the wine and bread.
I wrote the script for our sedar for a sixth grade religion class that I taught at St. Mary’s parish in Janesville Wisconsin. We invited the sixth graders and their parents to the feast. The pastor and I led the families in the reading of the story and the sharing of the foods. I played the role of the mother, the pastor of the father and we had a teen from the parish play the part of the children. The event was such a success that I brought it home to our family and we have been celebrating it ever since.
In writing the script, I wanted to be sure to be respectful to the Jewish people who started the tradition of this most important feast. I wanted to acknowledge the Christian connection but not let Christian theology trump Jewish teachings about their own ritual. I think I succeeded for the most part.
Years ago when I studied World Religions at Edgewood College in Madison Wisconsin, our instructor arranged for these marvelous field trips to various places of worship of the religions that we studied. When we studied the religion of the Jewish people we visited a local synagogue and had lecture about the faith by the rabbi. I will never forget his opening statement. “One difference between Christianity and Judaism,” he said, “is that, for the Christian, the rituals in church takes presidence over what happens in the family. But for the Jewish people, when we celebrate a Jewish festival in the home, we cancel synagogue.” I think this is why I have always loved this Jewish feast with its story-telling, special foods, and meaningful prayers. It is done in the home where God dwells among us in the love we have for one another.