Rethinking Easter Traditions

Having just concluded Holy Week/Easter Sunday, I am reflecting on what I learned this Easter season and how I plan to use this knowledge next year.

I attended my first “Seder dinner” this year, hosted by our local church. The person in charge of leading the dinner was of Jewish origin, but his father was baptized when he was four. So, it was an authentic Jewish Seder focused on celebrating the physical deliverance of the Hebrew people, although the host did leave you thoughts to ponder as Christians (who celebrate spiritual deliverance in Christ) throughout the dinner.

I cannot tell you how beautiful, spiritual, humbling, and exciting the dinner was. It literally made the Old Testament “passover” story become alive to me in a way I had never experienced. Additionally, it was so humbling to realize that I was potentially partaking in the same type of meal that Christ used as The Last Supper. Coming to the third cup of wine (the cup of redemption) and being told that this was thought to be the cup where Christ stated, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” was enough to give me goose bumps.

The Seder itself is based on the commandment in Exodus 13:8 – “You shall tell your child on that day, saying, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.” It is an occasion for praise and thanksgiving, remembering the liberation that was provided by the Lord. Additionally, the words and rituals of the Seder are vital in transmitting the Jewish faith from one generation to the next. As a Christian, the rituals of the Seder were doubly enhanced for me as they mark not only the physical deliverance of the Hebrew people which we read about in the Old Testament, but also the spiritual deliverance of those who have faith in Christ as portrayed in the New Testament. The conclusion of the traditional Seder “Next year in Jerusalem” (physical location) points us as Christians to the hope of the “New Jerusalem” and the Second Coming of Christ. There was so much parallel between the physical and spiritual meanings of the rituals that I was almost at a loss for words.

After the dinner, I was left pondering how much more significant a Seder dinner (even for those of us who are not Jewish) is than most of the Easter traditions in which a a lot of us (including a lot of churches) participate. For instance, I took Shaan to an Easter egg hunt at another local church this year – complete with an Easter bunny, bouncy houses, face painting – the works! However, other than some Christian music playing in the background, there was no real immersion into the true story of the Easter season – Christ.

Out of curiosity this year, I googled the meaning/origin of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny and was shocked at what I discovered. See the link below:

http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t020.html

Now obviously, my intent in decorating Easter eggs with my son or providing him an Easter basket is not to worship a pagan deity, but, while my intent is not “harmful” to my son’s faith, it certainly isn’t “helpful” to his faith either.

Wouldn’t an annual attempt at our own family Seder to explain the Passover and the significance of the Last Supper/”Christ Our Passover” be much better? That’s definitely something I’m thinking about for future Easter traditions…I even bought “The Story of Passover” to read and discuss with Shaan on Maundy Thursday this year. Hopefully we can build upon the book in future years, and make our family traditions a little more “Christ-centered.”

That’s always the goal, after all…

 

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