Hey Christians: Jesus's Passover Holiday Remembers Non-Jews

Passover - Holy Days with Compassion for others outside the faith

Passover is a Jewish holy week (actually eight days) in which many miracles of perseverance, faith, and the staedfastness of God are remembered. It also recounts the escape of the Jews from slavery under "bad guys" into freedom. However, even those bad guys are remembered with some regret for what they suffered during the Jewish escape. Akin to maturity shown by the Amish community in the face of the Nickels Mines school shooting, every year Jews show compassion for the rest of the on-Jewish world.

Next Year in Jerusalem mug available at Katz mit Chutzpah
Next Year in Jerusalem mug available at Katz mit Chutzpah

Passover

Although I am by birth one-eighth Jewish, it wasn’t until college that I attended Holy Day observances in the faith. I have attended Friday night Sabbath services, community center Purim festivals, and various home and family-based observances such as the autumn harvest celebration (some people call “Jewish Thanksgiving.”) However, the holiday which made the biggest impression on me was Passover. Passover is an eight-day holiday celebrated in conjunction with a meal interspersed with sacred readings and prayers. Many Christians believe Jesus Christ was observing this spring Holy time at the Last Supper.

The Story of Exodus

Passover commemorates the flight of the enslaved Jews from Egypt, recounted in the book of Exodus.  It took a series of ten plagues from God to convince Egyptian leaders to permit their departure. The means by which the plagues visit Egypt (getting uglier and uglier), how the Jews avoid harm, and their difficult escape is a story which Judaism requires to be remembered every year.

The Seder: a Service and a Meal

Exciting and complex, these dramatic and detailed events form the basis of a celebration conducted at home (I like that) and interwoven with a meal.  Called a Seder, this multi-hour- long observance uses a liturgical booklet and many special foods eaten in specific order.  In addition, a few hiding games and rewards appealing to children are built into the ceremony.  Furthermore, there is the honor for the youngest child (who is capable) to ask four important questions in the Seder ceremony.  And, for those who like mysticism, the ancient prophet Elijah is always considered a possible guest.

The Compassionate Moment

However, the part of the ceremony which impressed me most is an action during the recital of the ten plagues. Wine is drunk at specific times for specific purposes during the Seder.  As the moment occurs in which the plagues will be listed, Seder guests are instructed to take their wine glass. For each plague, they remove a drop by dipping a finger into the wine.  They then touch the drop to the edge of their dinner plate.  Ten times this is done. What is the reason?  It is because the Jews’ glass of happiness cannot be full if others (the Egyptians) had to suffer. 

Wow.  THAT is compassion.  THAT is walking in the other’s shoes.  THAT is spiritual maturity. 

Copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan

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