Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Two Great Religion Traditions Interwined
Was anyone else up early today and notice that the moon is almost but not quite full? Tomorrow is the full moon, the first after the Spring equinox. This means two things from a religious perspective. It sets the date for Easter 2009, which is always the first Sunday after the first full moon following the equinox. It also means that tomorrow is the beginning of Passover, or Pesach, in the Jewish religion. For observant Jews a day begins with sunset on the previous evening, so tonight Jewish households will celebrate Passover with its celebration of deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
We know that Jesus and his followers were celebrating Passover the night before his crucifixion and that when he took the unleavened bread and wine and spoke of them as his broken body and shed blood he was offering an extraordinary new perspective on a great tradition. His brokeness would be God's promise of deliverance in a unique way.
Still, Jesus was a Jew observing this important ritual with other Jews. The apostle Paul was a Jew whose passionate letters do not ignore his Jewish heritage. It's hard to understand why Christians through the ages developed a suspicion and even hatred for Jews, to the point that they were persecuted and killed.
There are a number of parents of younger children who are blog readers. Take a moment this evening to explain Passover. And tomorrow evening you might attend our Maundy Thursday service, which is not a seder meal, but draws on the tradition of the Last Supper. The link below is helpful in explaining the questions asked of children during the Seder.