Saturday, 16 April 2011

Should Christians Celebrate the Haggadah/Seder?

Speaking of things Jewish (see last post), should Christians celebrate the Haggadah or Seder, the Jewish ritual meal which remembers the Passover? Over the last thirty or so years Christian enactments of the Seder have become increasingly common in connection with Maundy Thursday celebrations of the Lord's Supper. The following statement from the Lutheran Church of Australia's 'Commission on Worship' (the C. o. W.; affectionately known as "the sacred cow") enumerates some good reasons to reject this dubious trend...

"1. A study of the Passover Haggadah by Christians can be useful for teaching, as background for understanding and appreciating aspects of the Old Testament and the context for Christ's death and his institution of the Lord’s supper.

2 However, the Passover belongs to the Jews and not to us, and we need to take care to use it in a way that does give unnecessary offence to Jews.

3 If the Passover Haggadah is studied or enacted, it needs to be considered in its complete and authentic form.

4 If the Passover is enacted, it does not belong to our worship in connection with the holy communion service, because Christians have never celebrated the Lord’s supper in connection with the Passover, and the communion service does not derive its meaning from the Passover, but from Christ’s death and resurrection.

5 Since Christ is our Passover Lamb, he has both fulfilled and abolished the Old Testament Passover together with all the worship of the Old Testament.

6 The Lord's supper is not primarily a remembrance of the exodus of Israel from Egypt, as the Passover is, but instead it is the remembrance and gift of Christ as our Passover."


Lvka said...

Well... in that case they should avoid attending an Orthodox liturgy as well... :-)

Schütz said...

I'm against it. Here is a good statement on the matter from the Jewish/Catholic dialogue group in Brisbane:

I concur with it absolutely. It concludes:

1 The Passover Seder is a Jewish celebration.

2 The study of the Passover is best situated within the academic framework of the study of Judaism. As the SIDIC document states ‘Christians can approach the Passover Seder alone or in groups and study its structure, read the text, explain the rites with the help of a competent person sensitive to Judaism. (1995: p3)

3 Christians may wish to attend a Jewish Passover meal when invited by Jewish friends. As stated in the notes on Nostra Aetate ‘One would then truly be guest of the Jewish tradition and faith by which the Church is linked by its very identity.’ (Nostra Aetate – notes 12)

In the spirit of mutual respect and understanding for the religious traditions of other
people, every care needs to be taken not to appropriate the Passover ritual which
rightfully belongs to the Jewish people.

matthias said...

Ah the MYSTIFICATOR hope that you are well at this time of GREAT LENT.
Pastor I agree that for Christians to celebrate Seder could be seen as offensive to some memebrs of the Jewish Faith.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Good advice, Lucian ;0)

Pr Mark Henderson said...

And you, Matthias.

Thanks David.

Pro Se Litigant said...

The Passover is an event of salvation and deliverance. Jesus celebrated it. The Apostles celebrated it. Jesus used the unleavened bread and the wine (4th Cup of redemption) to signify his body and his blood. We have no record saying the Apostles DID NOT observe both as Jesus did. To say the Christian Passover has no connection to the Jewish Passover is to destroy the origin of the Communion. While Jews will not allow the unleavened bread and wine to represent Jesus (he is excluded), many Christians see what Jesus did as the climax and completion of the seder symbolism. I have a few words for the recent perversion of the Haggadah by gays. The Passover is not about sexual orientation. It should not be used by any group to force their agenda via the seder. Gays were excluded from the Exodus because there were none who came out of Egypt (Dayeinu).None of the important partiarchs or matriarchs were gay. Elijah and Miriam certainly were not (Dayeinu). And it is they who it is said will usher in the Messianic age. Anyone who forces into the Haggadah the gay lifestyle has gone away from the Passover purpose. Why pervert such a simple evening of faith? Is there anything sacred to Jews they will not pervert or allow to be changed? Why not be content Jewish ancestors stood at Horeb as proof of the fourth cup (Dayeinu)?

If these perversions continue as have come forth in the past 30 years, the time may come when Passover will be nothing but a dinner where pork replaces the lamb. I think for many the unclean is already the seder focus.

Whether Jewish or Christian, do not pervert the Passover.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

No-one is saying the Passover has no connection with Easter (goodness!), but rather that Passover was a type of the Easter event. Now that Easter has occured, it makes no sense to celebrate the Passover, unless one is a Jew.