Of god (‘Yahweh’), holy convocations

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PASSOVER  ORDER  (PESACH  SEDER)


These are the feasts (‘moed’ = an appointed meeting) of GOD (‘Yahweh’), holy convocations (‘miqra’ = calling together) which you shall proclaim at their appointed times (‘moed’ = an appointed time or season) . … GOD’s Passover … (Leviticus 23:4)

For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast (‘heortazõ = feast, holy day) …  (1 Corinthians 5:7,8)



Preparation:

 


  • copy of the Seder for each

  • words of any songs

  • candle/s (and lighter)

  • 3 covered Matzot (flat bread)

  • cloth for the Afikomen

  • dustpan, brush & torch

  • bowls with parsley

  • bowls of salt water

 

  • Seder Plate with a shank bone, boiled egg, bitter herbs (maror), parsley (karpas), charoset, and lettuce

  • plates of matzot (flat bread)

  • bowl with bitter herbs

  • bowl with charoset

 

  • 4 glasses for the Leader

  • 1 glass for each

  • grape juice/wine

  • bowls of water, empty bowls, dippers and hand towels

  • small plates for individuals

  • water and glasses

 

  1. Place bread crumbs (somewhere in house)

 

2. Removing the leaven

  


    1. Leader:  We praise you Yahweh who has given us commandments, and who told us to prepare for Passover by removing the leaven.




    1. Children(Using a torch, dustpan & brush, collect the leaven and take it outside.)

 

3. Lighting the candle/s

 


    1. Mother:  Now with loved ones and friends, we gather for our sacred celebration.  We link the past with the future.  We get together to remember this Passover as we re-live the story that is for everyone to know.

 

    1. People:  You shall keep the feast of Flat Bread, for on this day I brought you out of the land of Egypt.  You shall remember this day every year.  (Exodus 12:17)

 

    1. Mother:  We do this to obey our God, Yahweh.

 

    1. People:  Remember this day when you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by the strength of his hand Yahweh brought you out.  (Exodus 13:3)

 

    1. Mother:  We praise you, Yahweh, who has kept us alive this past year so that we may once again celebrate this festival.  As we kindle the festival lights, we pray for the light of God in our midst that we might see anew the meaning of this celebration.  (Light the candles)

 

    1. Mother:  May the lights we now kindle inspire us to use our strength to help and not to hinder, to love and not to hate, to bless and not to curse, to serve and worship you, O God of freedom!  (Song of freedom e.g. Where the Spirit of the Lord is …)

 

4. Drinking the First Cup (the Cup of Sanctification)

 

    1. Leader:  The Bible tells us that Yahweh gave promises of freedom to His people.  With four cups of grape juice we celebrate and we recall our God’s promises to Israel and to us.


 

    1. PeopleI am YahwehI will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians, I will deliver you from slavery, I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, I will take you as my people and be your God.  (Exodus 6:6-7)

 

    1. Leader:  In the four cups that we drink tonight we celebrate these four “I will” promises of God.  (Fill the glasses)  We take the First Cup and proclaim the holiness of this day of freedom.  Blessed is Yahweh who fulfills His promises.  We praise you, Yahweh, who makes your people holy.

 

    1. People:  I am Yahweh, and I will free you from the yoke of the Egyptians.  (Exodus 6:6)

 

    1. Leader:  Let us drink the First Cup.  (Drink the First Cup)

 

5. Washing hands

 


    1. Leader:  We will now prepare for the meal by washing our hands to show that this is a very special occasion.  This reminds us that we need to have pure hearts.  (Wash of hands by the leader)

 

6. Parsley and salt water

 

    1. Leader(holding parsley) This green vegetable reminds us of life, created and kept going by our God.  And yet as good as Yahweh intended life to be, it is often mixed with tears which are salty. (hold the bowl of salt water)  Tonight we are celebrating the freedom and wonderful deliverance that God brought to the Israelite slaves in Egypt and us from a life of sin.  However, we do not forget that life in Egypt was hard and filled with pain, suffering and tears, just like a life of sin was for us.  (Everyone dips their parsley sprig into the salt water and eats it)


 

7. Three Matzot

 


    1. Leader(uncovers 3 Matzot and holds the middle one)  Now I will break the middle Matzah in two.  Later we will share it together as Jesus did with his disciples when he remembered the Passover.  (Break it in half;  return one half to the plate;  and leave the plate uncovered;  hold the other half.)  It is only the grace of Yahweh that sets us free!




    1. People:  This is the bread of suffering which the Israelites ate in the land of Egypt.

 

    1. Leader(Wrap the Afikomen – this ½ of the middle matzah – in cloth.   Hide it later during the meal.) 

 

    1. (Leader fills his second cup.  Others should have ¾ of glass remaining – or refill.)

 
8. Passover Story

 


    1. Leader:  The Torah tells us that our children will ask questions about who they are as Yahweh’s people.  Our God has instructed us that we should tell them the story so that they might know Him too.  It is both a duty and a privilege to answer their questions of the Passover, and to remember the gracious acts of our God.




    1. People:  Once the Israelites were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and we were slaves of sin, but Yahweh in His goodness and mercy brought us out of that place with a mighty hand.




    1. Leader:  Had Yahweh not rescued us from the hand of the destroyer, surely we and our children would still be slaves.




    1. People:  Once we were slaves to our sins, but Yahweh in His goodness and mercy forgave our sins and called us to be His people.




    1. Child/ren: Why is this night different than all other nights?




    1. Leader:  Tonight is different from other nights because we have gathered to remember who we are, what Yahweh has done for us, and to tell our children the story of Yahweh’s grace and deliverance.




    1. People:  Praise be to Yahweh who has brought us freedom and has delivered us from all that enslaves us!




    1. Mother:  Our God had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would be a great people, a promise He renewed to Isaac and Jacob.  As time passed Jacob’s children came to live in the land of Egypt where his son Joseph was advisor to Pharaoh.   But years passed and another Pharaoh came to power who did not remember Joseph and did not know his God, so he enslaved the Israelites.  He forced them to work hard making bricks of clay and straw with which to build his cities.  As the people increased in numbers, he feared that they would fight against him, so he ordered every newborn boy to be drowned.  They knew only hard work, suffering and tears.



    1. Leader:  They cried out from their cruel oppression, hoping that God would remember the promises He had made to the fathers.  And Yahweh heard their cry and remembered the covenant He had made with Abraham.  Through a wise mother and sister, Yahweh saved the life of the boy Moses from the cruel hands of Pharaoh.  After Moses had grown up, Yahweh sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, and promised Moses that He would be with him.





    1. Mother:   And yet when Moses asked Pharaoh to free the Israelites, he refused and made them work harder.  So Yahweh sent ten plagues on Pharaoh and the land of Egypt so that they would know that He is the only true God, and let the people go.




    1. Leader(Hold the Second Cup)  In a moment we will drink the second cup, the cup of deliverance, and we will celebrate in joy our deliverance from slavery.  A full cup is a symbol of joy.  Yet our joy is less because there are innocent people in this world today who are suffering due the sinful lifestyle of others. In the same way, the Egyptians, who are also Yahweh’s children, suffered from Pharaoh’s evil ways.  As we remember the plagues, we will spill a drop of juice from our cups for each plague to remember the cost of sin, and the consequences of evil in our world.  (Each person removes a single drop from their cup to their plate as each plague is said by the Leader.)  Blood.  Frogs. Lice.  Swarms.  Cattle disease.  Boils.  Hail.  Locusts.  Darkness. Death of the first born.




    1. Mother:  Pharaoh continued to refuse to let the people go until the last plague, the death of the firstborn of all Egypt, convinced him to release the people.  By following Yahweh’s instructions and putting the blood of a lamb on the door posts of their houses, the plague of death “Passed Over” the Israelites’ houses and no one died in their houses.  

 

9.  Seder Plate

 

a.  Leader(Hold the shank bone)  This is the picture of the Passover lamb that was killed so that the Israelites’ firstborn might live.  It reminds us not only of Yahweh’s wonderful grace in providing for us life and not death;  it also reminds us that we are called to obedience in response to Yahweh’s gift of life.  Today Jesus has made an end to all Passover sacrifices by his death. He is our Passover lamb (Return shank bone to the Seder Plate;  hold the egg.)  The boiled egg is a picture of the hardness of slavery.  (Return the egg to the Seder Plate)


 

b. Mother:  Even as the Israelites were leaving, Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army after them.  Trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea, the Israelites had nowhere to go.  But Yahweh told Moses to lift his staff over the sea, and Yahweh parted the waters.  They were able to pass through the sea on dry ground.  When the Egyptians tried to follow, the waters closed back over them.  When the Israelites saw that they were free, Moses’ sister Miriam led them in rejoicing and praising Yahweh.


c. People:  (Mother leading) We praise you our God who hears the cries of the oppressed, who brings freedom to the captive and who creates for yourself a people.  (Song of deliverance or grace e.g.  Majesty …)


    1. Child/ren: Why on other nights do we eat bread with leaven, but on this night we eat only flat bread? 




    1. Leader:  (Hold the remaining half of the middle matzah)  Tonight we only eat flat bread because the Israelites in Egypt had to leave in such a hurry that they could not wait for their bread to rise, and so they had to bake it while it was still flat.. This also reminds us of the haste in which God wants us to leave our old lives of sin.

f. People:  You shall eat flat bread, the bread of suffering, because you came out of the land of Egypt in a great hurry, so that all the days of your life you may remember the day you left Egypt.  (Deuteronomy 16:3)


g.  Child/ren: Why on all other nights do we eat of all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat bitter herbs? 

 

    1. Leader:  (Return the half matzah;  hold the bitter herbs)  Tonight we eat bitter herbs to remind us of how bitter our lives were as slaves.  We must never forget the bitterness of our bondage even though our lives are sweet now.





    1. People:  The Egyptians made their lives bitter with hard work in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the paddocks.  (Exodus 1:12-14)




    1. Child/ren: Why on all other nights do we not dip herbs at all, but on this night we dip them twice? 

 

    1. Leader(Return the bitter herbs;  hold the parsley and the charoset)  Tonight we dip twice.  We have already dipped the parsley.  We will also dip the charoset to remind us of the sweetness that God can bring into the most bitter of our circumstances.




    1. People:  Yahweh, even when my life is very difficult, Your words are sweeter than honey to my mouth!  (Psalm 119:107, 103) 




    1. Child/ren: Why on all other nights do we eat in the normal way, but on this night we eat with special ceremony?




    1. Leader:  (Return the parsley and charoset)  Tonight we eat with special ceremony because in each generation, every person should feel as if he or she has actually been redeemed from Egypt.  We tell the story because we are the redeemed of Yahweh, and we can sing a new song of praise because of His grace.  Yet it is not a new song, because it has been sung by countless people through the centuries as generation after generation have experienced the deliverance and redemption brought by our God.




    1. People:  Once we were slaves but now we are free!  (Song of testimony e.g. Amazing Grace)

10. The Second Cup (Cup of Deliverance)

 

a.  Leader(Hold the Second Cup)  With the Second Cup we celebrate the deliverance that Yahweh has brought to us.  He has brought us from bondage to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from darkness to light, from slavery to redemption.



 

b. People:  I am Yahweh;  I will deliver you from slavery (Exodus 6:6).  We praise you our God who creates the fruit of the earth.  Let us drink the Second Cup.  (All drink the Second Cup)

 

11. Flat Bread

 

a.  Leader(Hold 3 remaining matzot pieces) We praise you, our God, who brings forth grain from the earth to make bread.  (Take the top and middle half matzot;  break into pieces and distribute to all.)  Let us all offer a blessing for the bread.



 

b. PeopleWe praise you, our God, who has commanded us to eat flat bread.  (All eat a piece of matzah.)

 

12. Bitter Herbs

 

a.  Leader:  (Pass the bitter herbs bowl around - with teaspoon - for each to put some on their plate  – enough for the next two actions.)  With bitter herbs, let us remember how bitter a life of slavery to sin is as well as the bitterness of slave life in the land of Egypt.  As we eat, let us allow the bitter taste to bring tears of compassion for those who are still enslaved and have not yet experienced the deliverance that our gracious God brings. Let us weep as the Israelite slaves did who felt the pain of slavery in Egypt long ago.


 

b. People:  We praise you, Yahweh, who has made us holy with your word, and has commanded us to eat bitter herbs.  (Eat the bitter herbs – on some matzah if you prefer L)

 

c.  Leader:  As we are reminded of the bitterness of our slavery, and of the persecution of our fellow believers today, so too are we reminded of the hope that we all have in our God.  We will now begin to make the Hillel sandwich by placing a small amount of bitter herb on a piece of matzah.  (Take the third matzah, i.e. the only remaining matzah on the plate, and break into two.  On one half the Leader puts some bitter herbs and places it on his plate.  All do likewise from the matzot on their tables.  Then the Leader holds the bowl with the charoset.)  The charoset is a sweet mixture of apples (dates), honey and nuts.  It looks like a mixture of clay and straw that the Israelites used to made bricks for the cities of Pharaoh.  Often, life is a mixture of the bitter and the sweet, of sadness and joy.  Let us now add the sweetness of the charoset to the bitterness of the bitter herbs.  (Take the matzah with the bitter herbs on it and add to it some charoset.  Use the remaining matzah piece to make a ‘sandwich’.)  Let us remind ourselves of the hope we have in Yahweh, of the sweetness that He can bring into the most bitter of our circumstances.  (All eat their sandwich.)  We have broken bread together and have told the story of our deliverance.  Let us now eat together in celebration of our freedom. 


 

12. Meal

 

a.  (Remove the Seder Plate;  serve the meal;  hide the Afikomen during the meal.  EAT - but don’t drink from your special cup! … When finished, remove the meal plates and return the Seder Plate.)



13.   Afikomen and the Third Cup (Cup of Redemption)

(Song of communion e.g. This is the body …) 
a.  Leader:  It is now time to find that which has been hidden.  We will find the Afikomen so that we may finish our meal.  The Afikomen symbolizes the story of our redemption – Yahweh’s hidden mystery of redemption for mankind which has now been revealed though Jesus Christ. Yahweh still acts in history to proclaim good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favour (Isaiah 61:1-2 quoted in Luke 4:18-19).
b.  Children(Search for the Afikomen and receive a prize)

 

c. Leader:  (Holds the Afikomen in his left hand)  As we have found the Afikomen that has been hidden, we celebrate the fact that our long hoped for Messiah, Jesus, has come, and brought us a new freedom from a very old slavery.  Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.  Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not have a permanent place in the household;  the son has a place there forever.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8:31-34)


 

d.  People:  To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his grace to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  (Revelation 1:5-6)

 

e.   Leader(Fill the Third Cup)  Jesus stood in the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth and read from “Isaiah”.  When he had finished reading, he said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  (Luke 4:21)  We still live in the “today” of that fulfillment, and so we celebrate the coming of Jesus the Messiah, and the faithfulness of Yahweh in working throughout history to bring deliverance and freedom to his people.


 

f.  Mother:  Jesus has brought to us a new freedom from sin that enslaves us.  Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples on the night before he was crucified.  He told his disciples share the flat bread and the grape juice (fruit of the vine, wine) as pictures of his broken body and shed blood.  We share these also to participate in the new life that Yahweh in Jesus Christ has provided for us.

 

g.  People:  Blessed is He who comes in the name of Yahweh!


 

h.    Mother:  We praise you Yahweh, ruler of the universe, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We thank you, Yahweh, for giving to us your only begotten Son, who suffered and died and rose again, that we could be reconciled to you.  How great a love you have bestowed upon us!  As we now eat this bread and drink this cup, may you forgive us of any sin that we secretly harbour in our hearts, may you give us the freedom that comes as you transform us into the image of your Son, and may you fill us with your presence through the Holy Spirit that we may truly become your people.

 

i.   Leader:  Let us all take a piece of this flat bread.  (Pass the Afikomen around for each person to break off a piece.  Do not eat yet.)  This broken bread of redemption reminds us of the broken body of our LORD Jesus Christ that was broken for us.  Take and eat this, remembering that Jesus died for us, and in so doing accept the grace of God that brings freedom from bondage to sin.  (All eat Afikomen;  then all hold their ‘third’ cup.)  This cup reminds us of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ that was spilled because of us and on our behalf.  Drink this, remembering that Yahweh was reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus Christ, and in so doing accept the grace that transforms us and brings us from darkness into His marvelous light, and allows us to be His people.  (All drink the Third Cup.  Song of Yahweh’s grace e.g. Worthy is the Lamb …)


 
  14.   The Fourth Cup (Cup of Thanksgiving, Praise and Hope)

 


    1. Leader:  Our Seder is now complete just as our redemption is complete.  We rejoice with thanksgiving, and yet are humbled by Yahweh’s love!




    1. People:  I am Yahweh;  I will take you as my people and I will be your God (Exodus 6:7). 




    1. Leader:  Yet the story of Yahweh’s redemption is not ended.  We celebrate what Yahweh has done in history, and what He has done for us, but at the same time we still await what he will do in the future.  All creation still groans and longs for its final redemption.  We are still surrounded by evil.  As Jesus left, he promised he would come again and restore all things.  We have faith enough to believe that Yahweh will not leave the world the way it is, so we await the day in which He will again come and bring His Kingdom in fullness.  (Fill the Fourth Cup.  All raise their cups.)  We raise our glasses a fourth time in thanksgiving for Yahweh’s enduring grace and love to us.  Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, who has adopted us as your children, and allowed us to call you Dad.  (All lower their glasses for the prayer)




    1. People:  Our Father, who is in heaven, Holy is your name!  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass again us.  Lead us not into trials, but deliver us from evil.  For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever.  Amen.



    1. Leader:  We drink the Fourth Cup and give thanks!  (All drink – glasses should now be empty.)  The conclusion of the Seder is our faith and hope in Yahweh, as we await the coming of the New Jerusalem.

 

   15.  Leader extinguishes the candle/s 




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