We celebrated Passover in our home for the third time this year. Friends introduced us to the idea of the Messianic Passover years ago when we were living in Japan. Since then, we have also experienced it in a church setting, but it wasn’t until we were living in Portugal that we tried hosting a seder dinner in our own home. And ever since our first one, I knew I wanted Passover to become a part of our Holy Week / Easter remembrances and celebrations each year.
Why would a Christian family observe a Jewish holiday? Here are a couple of reasons we have made it one of our traditions: Every time I participate in a Passover dinner and service, my understanding of the Christian practice of taking communion is deepened and enriched. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper when he was celebrating the Passover with his disciples, and it wasn’t just a quick 10-minute service where trays of tiny crackers and cups of grape juice were passed around. It was a lengthy service built around an entire meal with many symbolic elements. Jesus “re-imagined” the Passover and some of those elements, when he told us to “do this in remembrance of me.”
But beyond that, I think there is much that Christians can gain from the study of Jewish culture. Not only were Christ and the apostles all Jews, but the early church was heavily influenced by Jewish culture. I think Christianity does itself something of a disservice when it ignores that rich heritage entirely. Passover was my first foray into Jewish tradition, but I am interested in learning more about other Jewish holidays and festivals, such as Purim and Hannukah. I’m sure that there are faith lessons I could take away from those holidays as well.
If you have never participated in a Messianic Passover, I encourage you to try to find a way to do so, either in a church setting or in your own home. There are many excellent resources online for planning and hosting your own seder, including free printable and downloadable copies of the haggadah (the script that you follow during the service).