Christians Who Observe Passover
Two Distinct Holidays, Yet Very Similar
As I was pondering a subject for my next Hub, I reflected on the approaching holidays of Easter and Passover. I felt it would be a more than interesting topic because each year I find myself, a Christian, becoming more drawn to the holiday of Passover. You might think this seems strange, but I believe there are many Christian Believers who have already been celebrating Passover. I am extremely excited about writing on this topic, because I am looking forward to much feedback. It is for that reason, that I will not go in-depth with this subject. I feel that each person who comments will have contributed a piece to this Hub. I truly love learning a new truth from the Bible and have been awed by the history of Jesus and His teachings to the Jews in his time. I am very grateful that as a Gentile, I was grafted into the promise He provided for the Jewish people, through His sacrifice of death by Crucifixion. There is so much more to learn and here, I believe is a forum for me to understand that more.
This article was not written from the perspective of being a religious scholar, which I am not. I do not hold a degree in Theology nor have I attended any seminary. While I do have knowledge of the Scriptures as found in the Holy Bible, I believe that I am writing the article because some of us might not realize that there are more similarities between the two holidays than we understand, and I would like to share what , myself I have learned. If you want to delve deeper into this subject, you may consider this your starting point.
When Interest Began
Three years ago I began learning more about the tradition of Passover. I was always interested in the distinct difference between the religious holidays of Easter and Passover. The only thing I knew at that time was Christians celebrate Easter which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Passover marks the historic moment when God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt and its Pharaoh. The blood on the door post of each Hebrew family caused death to pass by them while touching almost Egyptian home. I was aware that Jesus Christ became the Passover Lamb - the atonement is in the blood of Jesus Christ and when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, that blood cleanses a believer from death (spiritual). These are the teachings in the Holy Bible and I stand by, hold fast to them and walk in the truth of it.
So, here comes this new tradition (new to me) of celebrating and holding fast to Passover. It seems as those the two doctrines were enmeshed. Now my question was, "Lord, are the two actually one?"
THen I remembered that years ago, as a new believer in another church, our pastor wanted to teach us about the Holiday of Passover. He arranged for a Rabbi to come in and perform the Seder and explain everything to us, and we participated. It was an awesome experience! I had taken photos and recently came across them; these photos were about 30 years ago. Was God trying to teach me something even then? At that time I thought it was wonderful to experience the Jewish tradition of Passover, but that was it. In recent years, I had to go back to that event and pull any Godly significance from it to get a new understanding of what He might be showing me today.
I have two precious friends who are pastors. It was three years ago that I was invited to attend a Seder. They had just learned some interesting, or more accurately described, fascinating things about this Jewish holiday. What they shared with me was more in relationship of the Passover and Jesus, as opposed to why one should be celebrated and perhaps, not the other. Needless to say, I was more than a little confused.
Growing up as a child, in a Christian home, we looked forward to celebrating the Easter Holiday. We were taught in our Episcopal Church about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and I always loved to sing the song "Christ the Lord Has Risen Today." Our services included the taking of Holy Communion. However, as children, the excitement came in the form of our new outfit and "Easter Bonnet" for church, our Easter baskets and my mother's favorite Easter Sunday dinner.
Tradition called for ham, a little fried chicken, lamb, macaroni & cheese, potato salad, collard greens, rolls, and for dessert my mom made that yellow cake with white icing; the top was sprinkled with coconut. She'd place assorted colored jelly beans all on the cake. Even now, I see the table, the food, family and friends. It still makes me smile.
In the years that I raised my daughter, my sisters and I wove that long-time tradition into the tapestry of our own families. We, as Christian Believers, attended our now non-denominational church, bought the children a new outfit and baskets, but we emphasized who Jesus was and the price He paid for our salvation. We always impressed on them that He is what the holiday was about. I now choose to refer to the holiday as Resurrection Sunday and not Easter (that is a separate Hub all together).
It's Their Holiday
I was slightly familiar with the traditional Jewish meal. Over the years when working in my office, I would wish my Jewish friends a Happy Passover and they in turn, would wish me a Happy Easter. We probably each walked away thinking, "they're celebrating their holiday. "I love almost all ethnic foods, so they would bring me on the next Monday, gefilte fish, matzoh ball soup, that delicious pound cake with the poppy seeds (thanks Mrs. "A"), a slice of roast beef, slices of roast chicken, etc. There were always loads of leftovers and I would get such a nice "lunch bag"!
When my friends told me they'd purchased a book so that they could prepare the Seder meal, I was really thrown off. I was not able to attend my friends' invitation that year, but the invitation itself sparked a desire within me to find out more. You see, I didn't know any Christians who were observing this holiday, let alone African-Americans.
Now, I have recently learned that there is a population of Christian believers that celebrate Passover with a Seder in the Jewish tradition!
A Quest for Knowledge
I remember the next year as Easter and Passover was approaching, I ran across a TV program on NYC Channel 13 about two sisters (the sketch is not them) and how they traditionally planned, prepared and cooked their Seder meal. The cameras followed them to their favorite meat store where the butcher cut their Kosher roast beef and chicken, and packed up all of the other items they were purchasing. They wanted everything to be superior in quality. We next followed them to their grocers; I noticed they did not frequent a "supermarket". All of the items were delivered to their home. It was an intimate look into their home and family.
They shared, each in turn, every step of the meal preparation, and explained how to cook the dishes. The two sisters sometimes argued about how they preferred to do something, and at moments even argued how "mother did it this way!" The two sisters were elderly so their mom had passed awhile ago. The program ended with loads of family coming over, and the Seder ceremony was explained in detail, step-by-step. I was grossly intrigued. In writing this article, I discovered that their personal tradition, photos of family and friends, etc. has been published - story, recipes, DVD and all - see link below!
- The Gefilte Fish Chronicles
Mama Rose and Family
More Than The Meal
I believe that the Passover and how it is carried out, teaches people and children in particular, the History of how and why God delivered them from Pharaoh and led them into their Promised Land. There is great emphasis on tradition, keeping the old way, and remembering to be grateful to God. Christians can and will teach the same values to their children, when people are truly training their children to know the Heavenly Father, the I AM God.
It is unfortunate, however, that the "Easter Bunny, baskets full of eggs and candy, along with a new set of clothes, tend to "out shine" the true significance of Easter.
As I have studied and been taught by the scriptures in the Holy Bible, it reveals that Jesus Christ is not only my deliverer, but all who would come to Him. It is taught that Jesus Christ is the Messiah for the Jewish people, and the scriptures point to Him. Jesus celebrated the Passover with His Disciples before He went to the cross. My heart's desire in writing this article, I will confess, is that each and every person, during this Holiday season, would look to our Heavenly Father so that He can point the way to deliverance, salvation and healing for you in spirit, soul, mind and body.
These holidays speak of death, blood sacrifice, new life, deliverance, new land, eternal promise. Let's hold fast to truth as we celebrate, for these are truly Holy days.
Now, here is where I hope I will hear from you. While, I do have a lot more knowledge about Passover and in particular, the celebrating of it by Christians, I have decided to withhold it. First, it would be too much to write here and second, I know some are able to explain it better than I ever could. I will put also, thirdly, that there is a website world FULL of information, history, and culture that we each can explore if we choose to do so.
Your comment with any added information and/or spiritual insight is your contribution. Also, if you have any favorite recipes or websites for same for Passover and Easter meals which you would like to share, thank you!
Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Happy Resurrection Day!