Busted Halo
googling god
The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Should We Have Christian Seders?

Mike Hayes Answers:

Matzo and drops of wine are seen on a plate at a Seder table.(Catholic News Service photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

Matzo and drops of wine are seen on a plate at a Seder table.
(Catholic News Service photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

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 supersedes 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 and invite their Christian friends to participate 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.

The Author : Mike Hayes
Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
See more articles by (271).
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.
  • Marimer Cruz-Nieves

    What about the people who have Jewish ancestry like me ?

  • Steve McCarville

    I work quite often with the Anti-Defamation League and they would prefer Christians do not conduct a “mock Seder meal” just as we would prefer they do not conduct a “mock mass.” I have attended a couple of official Seder meals through gracious invitations by the local Jewish community which have been enlightening.I am a graduate of Bearing Witness and Bearing Witness-Advanced.

  • 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.

powered by the Paulists