Monday, March 30, 2009

Easter Series #2

2. How you could celebrate the Easter weekend itself

Even if you plan to do nothing at all in the lead-up to Easter, it's worth thinking about how to make the Easter weekend itself meaningful as well as fun and full of eating!

Here are some thoughts:

i) A passover meal on Thursday night

I did a bit of on-line research regarding the passover meal, which is called a Seder. Having looked at a number of them, including Christian versions, I have decided to ignore all of them! Partly because they are very long (about 5 hours), but mainly because they are based on a tradition which built up over a long period of time in Judaism. The Christian versions just seem to want to do all of that, and add an extra ‘Jesus’ bit at the end. Instead, for us I am going to simplify it down and go back to the bible as my only source.

So, on Thursday night, we are going to sit down to a meal together which will include roast lamb with herbs, unleavened bread and juice/wine.

We will:
  1. Wash one another's feet, to remind each other that Jesus washed his disciples' feet and read out John 13:5-17.
  2. Sit down together to eat the meal. During the meal, we will explain that this was the type of food that was eaten on the night that the Israelites were saved by God and rescued from Egypt. They had to eat it in a rush, which is why the bread had no yeast in it. God commanded them to celebrate the Passover every year in this way, reading Ex 12:24-27.
  3. After the food, talk about how Jesus celebrated this same meal with his disciples, the night before he died, using some bread and a cup of wine/juice. Read Matthew 26:26-29
So, in having this meal together, we will remember how God saved his people the Israelites through the Passover and the exodus and we remember how Jesus has also saved us by dying for us at Easter time.

I understand that this may annoy some people (who would prefer a more traditional Passover meal), but I hope I have saved the elements that are important, while also accounting for the fact that we will be feeding a 5, 3 and 1 year old on the last night of the school term - so I want to be wise about what can be achieved!

If our children were older, able to stay up later, and not terrified of all DVDs, I think we could also watch Prince of Egypt, to emphasise the great act of redemption that the passover and the exodus was.

ii) Go to church on Good Friday

This may sound obvious, but I have observed many Christians (myself included in the past) don't seem to bother with church on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. However, you really do appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus' death more by pausing on Good Friday, going to church and hearing the accounts of Jesus' death read out. It is a time for reflection on the seriousness of our sin and the price Jesus had to pay.

iii) Easter Saturday

Noel Piper suggests that Easter Saturday should be a day of waiting, with not too much excitement or fun things, to get an idea of how the disciples felt knowing that Jesus was dead and buried and unsure as to what would happen next.

I like the idea, however we have gone and scheduled Mr 6's birthday party on that day, so I doubt there will be much time for reflection! His birthday always falls near Easter, and sometimes it is hard to know where to put the emphasis. [On the year it was on Good Friday it was hard to explain to a 2-year old, that we were going to church and remembering Jesus' death, while also having cake and presents to celebrate Mr 6's birth!]

iv) Easter Sunday

Go to church again - celebrate that Christ is risen!

We will not have a day filled with chocolate and bunnies (I'll post about that later). However, on Easter Sunday morning we will reach the last day of our bible readings working through Matthew and read of Jesus' resurrection. I think we will also read Dave the Donkey again (see previous Easter Post).

In our house when we celebrate birthdays, we wake up to balloons and streamers around the house in honour of the special day. On Easter Sunday, we will also wake to balloons and streamers, to celebrate Jesus' being alive again, and because of that, our 'new birth' to eternal life.

I really liked Nicole's idea about a 'Jesus is alive' cake with a smashed open chocolate egg to symbolise the empty tomb. I think we will do that this year too.

Do you have any other ideas for celebrating the Easter weekend with your family?


Anna Cohen said...

We have a passover dinner every Easter - we LOVE it! In past years we have invited non-Christian friends - including some Jewish friends and they have all really loved it. This year, we are doing it with our home group. It's a fun family tradition we hope to continue so that our children understand both their Jewish and Christian cultures. I found a fantastic outline online which isn't too long (although I'm sure it will shorten as the years go on!) and incorporates a lot of the Jewish traditions as well as ending with us taking communion together. We always get friends to help with dishes and we make it as authentic (no yeast) as possible! I have lots of resources if anyone is interested!

Wendy said...

Would love them Anna, I'll facebook you my email address! Thanks

Rachach said...

Hi Wendy,
I too was considering doing a Passover and came to the same conclusion as you, to use the Bible and to do our version of the Last Supper. We had a similar meal, but added roast potatoes and hommus.
I really like your idea of having streamers and balloons and a cake, it is such a special day!

Wendy said...

Thanks Rachach for the comment. Hope you enjoyed it - we enjoyed ours again this year. Happy (belated) Easter! Wendy