Springfield Members Experience Seder Meal

The weekend that Christians traditionally celebrate the risen Savior is a fitting time to take a closer look at the Jewish Passover and what it means to a Christian. The Springfield Church chose to feature the Passover and Jesus' Last Supper during Easter weekend. As the sun set on Friday evening, friends and members ate together and then shared in the ordinance of foot-washing in a relaxed setting.

Sabbath morning worship services focused on songs, Scriptures and prayers of redemption, both traditional Jewish and Christian selections, as well as new compositions honoring our Savior and His plan for our present and future. A table for a traditional Passover Seder meal was set up on the stage. Lutz Binus, Springfield Church pastor, wore a traditional Jewish prayer shawl and head dress as he explained and participated in the Seder meal shared by the Don and Beth Whitsell family. Connie Jessel moderated during the sayings, prayers and responsive readings. Jill Harwood gave the traditional prayers for the Seder in Hebrew, following Binus' explanations and English readings.  

Cora and Sarah, the children of the family, went about the house prior to the meal and removed all the leavened bread crumbs they could find, as a symbol to be willing to obey God in preparation for celebrating the deliverance He brought to His people. "There are many parts of the Passover celebration and meal that our Jewish friends celebrate each year that look back at the experience of Israel coming out of slavery in Egypt," explained Binus. “The removal of leaven is a sign of God wanting to remove sin out of our hearts, and many other parts of the meal give beautiful insights into our Christian experience."

The table set in front of the church included candles (Jesus is the light of the world), the roasted shank bone of a lamb (Jesus is the Lamb of God) and bitter herbs as a reminder of the bitterness of slavery (our slavery of sin). Then there was the matzoh, the unleavened bread, with piercings and darker stripes from the baking. "In the piercings and stripes we see the broken body of the Messiah — Christ," shared Binus.

During the meal the story of the exodus of Israel was shared in an interactive way as the children asked questions to enhance the remembrance of the experience through the generations.

The members of the congregation were able to participate in the service through responsive readings. Then the deacons distributed pieces of bread as well as big cups of juice. Four times during the meal the family partook of the grape juice as God's affirmations "I will bring you out," "I will deliver you," "I will redeem you" and "I will take you." A Hebrew blessing and congregational song closed this special church service. Many in the congregation expressed appreciation for a deeper understanding of the Passover/communion connection and a service that visually illustrated God's saving grace in the past as well as today.

Cheryel Whitsell, Springfield Church communication leader, with Lutz Binus, Springfield Church pastor

June 12, 2014 / Oregon Conference