The Passover is a religious celebration that marks the exodus of Israelites from Egypt and is observed with an elaborate meal of symbolic foods, prayers, stories and blessings. For the Christians, the Pesach holidays hold a different significance altogether. Jesus has been depicted as the final Passover Lamb in the New Testament of the Bible who was sacrificed to free people spiritually from the slavery of the sins just like the lamb had once been instrumental in physical deliverance of Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt. Thus, for Christians, Passover celebration is a memorial and tribute to Jesus for his great sacrifice and torture that he suffered for mankind. Though different groups have little variations of Passover celebration that they follow, most of them follow the rituals of the Last Supper as stated by Jesus to his disciples. This following write up discusses how Passover is celebrated among the Christians and gives you an idea on Christian Passover rituals, songs and feast.
Passover In Bible
The unleavened bread represents Jesus' body and wine symbolizes his blood and the New Covenant. Jesus himself took the place of the traditional lamb. Some Christians even follow the ceremony of washing one another's feet just like Jesus did to his disciples at the Last Supper. The time of celebration also differs for the Christians. Some groups observe the celebration on the night before Jesus's suffering when He held his Last Supper while others observe it at the time when he was sacrificed and died 'at the ninth hour' in the evening that coincides with the time when Jews sacrificed their Passover lambs.
Passover got it name when the Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Jews, who had been forewarned to put lambs blood on their doors so that death would spare their first-born child. Ever since, Jews celebrate the Passover in remembrance of God's grace to them. There has been tremendous explosion of interest in adapting the Passover festival by Christianity. Many Jewish organizations promote Christian Passover services as a means for Messianic Jews to retain their culture heritage while professing their Christian faith.
Preparing For Passover Celebration
In the Jewish family, the evening before the first Passover meal, the entire house is searched for any evidence of leaven bread. The family goes from one room to another with a candle light, accompanied by the father who uses a small wooden spoon and feather to sweep off the breadcrumbs if found, so that the house becomes free from chametz. Christians do not carry the tradition of looking for the evidences of leaven. But, the spirit of housecleaning remains a symbol for cleansing of hearts.
No matter where the Passover is held, a Christian has to be hospitable. According to the tradition, when a man sits down to perform the Seder on Passover, he invites the poor saying, "Let those who are hungry enter and dine with us. We are all equal and though you may be poor, do not be ashamed or feared, for so too were our forefathers in the land of Egypt." To emphasize the spiritual meaning of hospitality, the commentaries in the 'Haggadah' contain prayers such as 'Passover Haggadah'.
To clarify the relationship between the Old and the New, each group makes their own arrangements so it does not conflict with the local church services. For adults, a late leisurely Seder provides an opportunity to savor the insights and the fellowship after the liturgical services.
Mother, in a family, communicates joy and reverence toward spiritual things. The mother's attitude towards the extra work involved in the preparations for a family feast teaches serenity and gaiety to everyone. Parents offer formal lessons on Passover by involving kids in selecting the decor, music, food preparation or at least helping with the actual cleaning and physical arrangements.
Christian symbols of the paschal lamb surmounted by a cross and flying banner, plate of breads, loaves and fishes, the chalice, the Last Supper, phrases from St. John's discourse at the Last Supper, sheaves of wheat for the bread bunches of grapes and wine are also sources for designs.
Family members who are inclined towards music will practice for days in advance preparing a broad range of songs, both sacred and secular to precede and follow the Seder. Or they listen to the records or have a brief explanation of them as they sing during the evening, adding more understanding to Jewish tradition.
Lamb is not essential to the feast; it is especially meaningful if it is served. Homemade bread, miniature loaf pans seem delightful at the feast initiating the bread of life.