Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Castle Passover Haggadah

For those of  you wondering how to hold a Christian Passover Meal, Here is the "Castle Haggadah". Even with our reductions, this is a LONG evening, so make sure your pillows are comfortable and that you have back support.  I still crop here and there keeping the most important parts if I notice my children losing interest.  I love the symbolism and any excuse to celebrate and renew my deeply held beliefs. 

 Remove the Chametz
Explanation:  In the days preceding Passover, Jews clean the house thoroughly and remove any trace of chametz or leven from the house.  Leaven (yeast) is a necessary element in baking but also has the power to decay and destroy.  Thus removing leven carries a deeper significance than just its association with the exodus.  It symbolizes the willingness to remove any corrupting influence from ones life.  So in removing the chametz, we symbolize our willingness to obey God in the smallest details.
Preparation:  Before the family gathers, we hide several pieces of regular raised bread in obvious hiding places.
Action:  The young children collect all the hidden pieces of leavened bread to prepare the room for the celebration of the Passover.  When it is collected, it is carried out in a basket so all can see and witness our preparation and willingness to obey. 
Foot Washing
Preparation:  A small bowl of water and a towel for each family member.  
Action:  Read the New Testement account of Christ's last supper, including the part about Jesus Christ washing the feet of the twelve apostles.  The head of our family then gently washes the feet of each family member.  
Light the Passover Candles
Explanation: The Seder begins with the lighting of the Passover candles.  The mother of the home lights the candles.  They symbolize the light of Christ in our lives.
Action:  The Mother lights the candles.  Songs are sung throughout the Seder.  (It is a celebration after all)  Here we sing a song about spiritual freedom or light.  We usually sing, The Lord Is My Light.  At this point we have our prayer and blessing on the food.  Our prayers are not memorized but are heartfelt gratitude for our Savior Jesus Christ and his amazing sacrifice.  

The First Cup:
Explanation:  Passover is about memory and fulfilled promises.  But it is also about hope for current and future redemption.  With four cups from the fruit of the vine, we celebrate and recall God's four "I will" promises.  
Action:  Read Exodus 6:6-7 
Explanation: In the four cups that we drink tonight, we celebrate these four "I will" promises of God:  Freedom, Deliverance, Redemption, and Thanksgiving for fulfilling His promises.
Action:  Each person pours a small bit of Grape Juice.  Read Exodus 6:6.  What will he free us from?  Drink the first cup.

From here on out the Haggadah is meant to be in question/answer form.  The youngest or in our case, all our children are to ask questions.  Since the meal looks really different, it is not difficult.  I tell them to ask about any and everything as it is all symbolic.  Some questions and answers that are normal in traditional Haggadah are:
Q:  Why are we seated on the floor?
A:  We celebrate our freedom.  When Israel was slaves to the Egyptians, slaves had to stand during meals.  We recline and relax to celebrate our freedom (especially our freedom from sin).
Q: Why are we drinking grape juice?
A: The grape juice symbolizes the blood of the lamb that was painted on the doors of those who believed.  Then the destroyer passed them by and their eldest was not killed.  This was done in symbolism of the blood of Jesus Christ that saves us from the destroyer and death.  
Q: What is that green stuff?  
A:  This parsley represents life, created and sustained by Heavenly Father.  He gives us life and all good things.
Action:  The parsley is dipped in salt water and each person dips then eats the parsley.
Q:  Why do we make it salty?
A:  Life is also full of tears, joy and sorrow go together.  We must have the tears, but we remember the good of life.
Action:  At this point, we eat a green salad, or vegetable hors d'oeuvres.
Breaking of Bread: The Matzah
Action:  The Leader uncovers the three pieces of unleavened bread and takes the middle piece.  He breaks it in two.  
Q:  Why did you break the bread?
A:  The broken bread represents the broken body of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We remember him.
Q:  Why is the bread flat?
A:  When the Israelites left Egypt, they left in such a rush they did not have time to leaven their bread.  Also, we removed all leaven from our lives for this night symbolizing our obedience to Heavenly Father's commands.  
Action:  Leader wraps half of bread in towel and hides it during the meal in the room.  (children will later find it and redeem it for a small gift). Everyone else eats or saves the bread on the plate for later
The Story of Passover:
Action:  In whatever way is best for you and your family, tell the story of Israel going to Egypt and their redemption.  It can be read from a child's story, directly from the scripture, shown in short movie form, or creatively with a clothesline of pictures.  We've done all of the above.  During the telling, we drink the second cup of deliverance as we discuss the plauges:  blood.  Frogs. Lice. Swarms. Cattle Disease. boils. hail. Locusts. Darkness. Death of the first Born.  Each plague is supposed to get a drop of juice on the plate by a spoon.  With small kids, I usually skip that part and instead have them search for plastic animals that represent the plagues.  We discuss the things that can be plauges in our lives; lies, pornography, anger... etc. 
Action:  The Lamb bone is held up when telling about the the final plague.  "This is the symbol of the Passover lamb that was killed so that our children might live.  The true unblemished lamb that was killed was Jesus Christ.  His blood ensures that all of us will live spiritually and physically.  It reminds us of Heavenly Father's grace in providing for us in death and life.
Action:  The Lamb bone is replaced with the egg.  "The egg has no beginning and no end and is a symbol of new life and hope.  Christ's sacrifice has no beginning and no end.  We look to eternity with hope because of him.
Action:  Egg is replaced with Matzah and held up:" Deuteronomy 16:3
Action:  Matzah is replaced with Maror (horseradish) for all to see.  All take a bite.  "Tonight we eat bitter herbs to remind us of the bitterness of slavery.  Slavery in Egypt was bad, but slavery to sin is worse.  We remember so we never forget the bitterness of bondage.
Action:  We dip a bit of parsley into the Charoset.  "Tonight we dip twice.  We also dip into the Charoset to remind us of the sweetness that God can bring into the most bitter of our circumstances and the sweetness of repentance.  
Action:  Song of Testimony:  example (Amazing Grace, I know that My Redeemer Lives etc.)
The Second Cup (the cup of Redemption)
Action:  Exodus 6:6  We all drink the second small cup.
The Meal:
The meal is detailed in the post below.  Eat!  Enjoy!
Q:What is this dessert we are eating?
A: Charoset is a mixture of apples, honey and nuts.  It symbolizes the mixture of clay and straw that the Israelites used to make bricks for the cities of Pharoh.  But the apples of the mixture also remind us of something else.  apple trees set fruit before the tree has leaves, and then grow leaves to protect the fruit.  In Egype, the women of Israel gave birth to children under the trees of the orchard to avoid the decree of Pharoh, with no assurance of the safety and future.  Their hope in a future from God sweetened the misery of slavery.  Life is a mixture of the bitter and the sweet, of sadness and joy.  
The Third Cup: Cup of Deliverence
Action: As everyone is finishing, the leader fills one more cup sitting at an empty place setting.  
Explanation:  This place setting is for Elijah the Prophet.  It has been the hope of God's people that Elijah would come at Passover, to announce the coming of the Messiah.  Historians believe that this is the cup that Jesus used to institute the sacrament at the Last Supper to indicate the fulfillment of this promise.  
Action:  A child opens a door to welcome Elijah to the Passover.  Leader drinks the cup.  "I drink this cup because Elijah has been here to herald the Messiah.  Christ has come.  This cup of deliverence has been fulfilled.  
Action:  It is time to reveal that which has been hidden.  We will find our Afikomen so that we may finish our meal.  The children search for the hidden bread and receive their small gift.  
The forth Cup: The cup of Thanksgiving and Hope
Leader:  Our Seder is complete as our redemption is complete.  
Action:  Mathew 6:31,32,34 and Isaiah 43:2-3
Leader: The story of God's redemption is not ended.  We celebrate what he has done in our history and what he has done for us but at the same time we await a new future.  He has promised that he will come again and restore all things.  We raise our glasses one last time in Thanksgiving and Hope for the future.
Action:  All drink
Everyone:  Next Year in the NEW JERUSALEM!
Leader:  extinguish Passover Candles.