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Mike Hayes
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Our readers asked:

Should We Have Christian Seders?

Mike Hayes Answers:

Some parishes, in an attempt to reenact the Last Supper (traditionally defined as a Passover supper) hold a seder meal for their parishioners. This recently has been the subject of much controversy. There’s a great article discussing this here.

In short, we should note the following:

1) A seder is not for Christians. Just as a Christmas tree is not for Jewish people. The use of a Hanukkah Bush is a grave misnomer according to the rabbis in my local community. As Christians, we should hold Jewish rituals in the highest esteem and moreover, not attempt to Christianize them. This may in fact be looked upon as anti-Semitic when we do so.

2) The modern seder did not begin until 70 AD after the destruction of the temple. And in some ways this was a reaction to and a resistance of the Eucharistic meal that we celebrate. Note the date here. Jesus would not have been able to celebrate what we know as the modern seder as it did not exist. Whatever ritual he did partake in, it was not this one.

3) It may serve to “write Jews out of their own ritual.” In other words, by holding a seder in a Christian church and to end it perhaps with our Eucharistic meal is at best a shaky proposal. The meal is for Jews alone and usurping it for our own purposes can be mistaken as a sign of our saying that their meal is not important and that our Eucharistic meal supercedes their ritual. However unintentional this may be, it is a very real possibility that it may be interpreted as such.

4) Lastly, it would be in good form for Jewish people to hold seders in which they invite their Christian friends to participate in on their terms.

The article above makes one final point that I will quote here:

If we really want to understand the mysteries of Jesus’ last days, we might consider participating in the classic liturgies of the Great Three Days of Maundy/Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. It is there, in the experience of the powerful liturgical traditions of those three days, that we encounter the meaning, depth, and power of our salvation. In the ritual of the Passover, the Jewish people recount their story of redemption. In the liturgies of the Great Three Days — and especially the Easter Vigil — the Christian community recounts and relives our story of redemption.

Each year I attend a seder that our local temple holds specifically for the entire community. It is a wonderful celebration. We, in turn, often invite the Jewish community to participate in various events, community service opportunities, and much more.

 
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The Author : Mike Hayes
Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Nick Russo

    It seems like the reasoning presented to not hold a seder unless you’re Jewish boils down to 1) seders are for Jews, not Christians, 2) it might offend Jews, 3) Jesus didn’t do it. Aren’t most Christian traditions borrowed from other religions or cultures? Should we not celebrate Christmas with a tree or Easter with eggs because pagans will be offended? Or because because Jesus didn’t do it? Should we avoid reading the Hebrew Scriptures because they belong to the Jews? I think this topic deserves a more careful analysis than what has been provided.

    • Martha Fisher

      Thank you for the great article! I almost made that very mistake this week with my family! NIck Russo, click on the link provided for the careful analysis, and have a blessed Easter

    • https://www.facebook.com/nursecarl Carl Sobrado

      In Hawai’i, I have many Buddhist friends. They invite and I attend their services out of hospitality and respect for their traditions. Likewise, they come with me to Midnight Mass and Easter Vigil.

      It comes down to a matter of respect.

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