A Meal to Remember

April 21, 2011 - 5:00 am

“On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”—Exodus 13:8-9

One of the salient elements of the Passover celebration is the Seder, a special ritualized feast conducted in the home that not only helps us tell the story of that first Exodus, but helps us to reenact the events. Indeed, the Seder is marked by an abundance of ancient customs and rituals, feasting, prayer, joy, and warm hospitality.

The word seder means order, and a traditional Seder consists of fourteen separate rituals. These rituals include the telling of the account of the Israelites’ deliverance from bondage in Egypt, the discussion of the various symbolic items on the Seder plate, the eating of a festival meal, and the blessing after the meal. It is a meal that we are obligated to share with others. In fact, we begin the Seder by declaring, “Let all who are hungry come eat with us.”

In retelling the story of the Exodus during the Seder, we are fulfilling God’s commandment to never forget how He rescued His children from slavery and how He redeemed them. Our children play an important role during the Seder by asking the four questions, or mah nishtanah, about the rituals and customs surrounding the meal, so that they will remember the story of the Exodus.

The story of the exodus from Egypt has been a spiritual inspiration for people all over the world. Over the centuries, the liturgy of the Haggadah, the guide to the Seder, was developed to include the strivings for freedom of Jews who had no homeland. Even today, Jews who feel distanced from the mainstream Jewish community continue to create liturgy for Passover that expresses their wish for freedom and redemption from a sense of isolation.

Observance of the Passover binds us throughout history with those first Israelites who came out of bondage from Egypt. And it marks us as unique followers of God.

What about you? What in your faith traditions mark you as a person of faith and a follower of God? What do you do that sets you apart? Perhaps it is the way you raise your children, or care for the poor, or demonstrate love for others that marks you as different.

Whatever it might be, think of how you can be a blessing to others, then celebrate that within your own family, and pass it along to the next generation.


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