Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Invitation to a Passover Seder
Last evening Ruth and I went to the home of a Jewish friend here in Belleville for our first Passover seder. After so many years of Maundy Thursday services, which are the Christian opportunity to acknowledge Jesus' last meal --a seder-- with his disciples, we made our way through the meal over several hours with 13 others. For a while there were a total of 13 of us, but I refrained from pointing out that number and its parallel to the Christian Last Supper. Besides, many scholars note that seders have always included women and children, so there may have been many more than the number of people Leonardo DaVinci and other artists have portrayed in their works.
This was an inclusive seder because Susan, our host, is a Reformed Jew, sort of the Jewish equivalent of the United Church. The Reformed movement has included women rabbis for about 40 years and the women at last night's table added water to a cup in recognition of Miriam's role in the Exodus, honoured as a provider of water in the wilderness. The atmosphere was relaxed and the food was great. There were several Jewish guests, a Buddhist, a smattering of Christians, and some "nones" from what I could gather. We all participated and learned. It was a lovely gesture of welcome and interfaith dialogue in the best possible way --over food!
I have chosen through the years not to conduct seder meals at churches I served. I am uneasy about this as a form of religious and cultural appropriation. I really wouldn't appreciate folk from other religions staging communion, so why would I set up a seder? I would love to have Susan come another year to walk a group through this important meal of deliverance.
Have you attended a seder? Did you realize the connection between this Jewish meal and Jesus' last meal?