“Passover Seders are like the night sky:
A moment of moments long past and just gone;
Starlight years old next to planets nearby
Shining as though joined in one joyous song.
Over our heads is a book of the ages
Vividly chanting the stories of old,
Even as under our fingers are pages
Resplendent with light come from cauldrons now cold.
So may we gaze at the past in the present,
Each prayer a jewel in a darkness undone,
Destined to light on our eyes in a moment
Embracing all slaves out from Egypt as one.
Rejoice, then, in this living graveyard of light,
Singing the words, that they last one more night.” – Nicholas Gordon
Yesterday, as the sun set on the different parts of the world, Jews everywhere celebrated the Passover Seder. The very same Seder that Jesus and his disciples celebrated on that fateful night before the crucifixion.
The Passover Seder is a beautiful ritual – one that has blessed me every time I took part in the celebration. It is good and necessary to remember the way that our family of faith has been walking from the very beginning: to eat of the “karpas” and the “maror” and be reminded that our tears are not the first shed, the bitterness of parts of our journey not the first to be experienced; to take part in the “yachatz”, the breaking of the bread, celebrating that God would even part the seas for those He loves. In each different phase of the meal, in all the different elements, to know as concretely as the things that we smell, touch and eat that – though this life is often filled with suffering, pain and bitterness – we are enfolded in the promise and the blessing of God’s presence…of his unceasing love and involvement in our lives.
“Palpably, You are in this room,
A presence just as certain as our own,
Singing with us — family friend, well-known —
Someone, not just something we assume.
One can know You only intimately.
Vast as You are, You fit into our home.
Every tick of life we’re not alone,
Rejoicing in a love we feel and see.” – Nicholas Gordon
The wonder and grace for those of us who have come to know Jesus for Who He was? That our Passover Seder does not need to end with a prayer to Elijah, the opening of a door to symbolise our expectation for the coming of the Messiah or the words, encapsulating the hope that the Messiah will come, that “next year (will be) in Jerusalem”. For God and the Kingdom have already entered the door – as unexpectedly strange as only God can be – and all the offerings needed have already been made. “Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the Feast. So let’s live out our part in the Feast, not as raised bread swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread-simple, genuine, unpretentious.” – 1 Cor 5:7-8 So, on this “Silent Saturday”, find time to be at peace and bask in this time…God’s reminder.
A liquid shaped by glass blown long ago,
Singing every year the words you know,
Songs that do not change as your years pass.
Old glass, new wine; new matter, ancient form;
Vintages that burst with life and joy;
Enduring hope no horror can destroy;
Ritual that makes a faith a home.”
– Nicholas Gordon