Saturday, April 19, 2008

Joyous Passover!

Tonight is the first Seder. That is the first night of Passover for Jewish people and for me it is a fond memory. I was raised in a Jewish household. My father was Jewish and my mother was a Christian who converted. Passover was always a very special time and one of my favorite celebrations.

The service, unlike other high holy days is conducted in the home. It is in effect a celebration of family and tradition as well as the deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The evening meal is framed by a ceremonial meal and service conducted by family members and because of that I got to play my own part in the festivities. I got to ask the “4 questions”, the pivotal moment in the meal when the Passover story is explained and the tale of the Jews and the Exodus is told year after year.

Today, I am a Christian, but I still love Passover. I even tend to buy matzoh and gefeltifish this time of year just because of the memories it brings back. It is not too strange that I became a Christian, since our family always celebrated Christmas and Easter with the relatives on my mother’s side of the clan. My father even helped put up a Christmas tree every year at our home, he loved the tradition and knew I would be exposed to the secular part of Christmas anyway.

For me, Christianity is not that far removed from my Judiasm. After all, Jesus was a Jewish teacher and his audience were Jews. The message of Christianity resonates with me just as it much have for those early followers and the transition seemed natural. More importantly, because of my Jewish religious education I understand much about the stories in the gospel and how to interpret them. They are Jewish stories after all, and like the stories of the Old Testament they hold great truths even though they are not meant to be historical accounts. That is a hurdle many people who were raised in the Christian faith have trouble with.

So though I will not celebrate the Passover this year, I still will recall the story of liberation it represents, and I will embrace the new freedom the Exodus gave our ancestors. It was not so much a liberation from Pharaoh, but a liberation from the oppression of idolatry and prejudice. A journey to a new life with God’s promise. That journey is one we are still taking. May your first Seder be filled with the love of your family and the joy of the freedom the festive season brings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And a Joyous Passover to you too!
Richard & Glenn