Over the last few years I have organised a Passover meal at church and in my small group. I thought I would share the order of service or ‘haggadah’ that I use so that you can do the same in your church or small group. I have to say, it works best in a small group setting as the meal is designed to be shared by a family (50 people in a hall feels less intimate) – compare it to sharing a Christmas dinner.
The Passover meal is a ritual meal celebrated by Jews the world over, it is the most important of the festivals. The Passover celebrates and remembers when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, when the angel of the Lord in the last and tenth plague ‘passed over’ the homes of the Israelites who had made the sacrifice of a lamb and daubed the blood on the door jambs and lintel. Read Exodus 12ff. to get a picture of that first Passover.
The Passover meal was the last supper shared by Jesus with his disciples. It is significant that Jesus chose the Passover meal at which to institute Holy Communion. The Passover celebrates God’s salvation through the blood of the lamb on the doorposts as the angel of death passed over, Holy Communion or the Last Supper celebrates our salvation through the blood of the Lamb – Jesus himself.
Sharing a Passover meal together is a wonderful way to celebrate the same meal Jesus shared with his disciples on the night that he was betrayed. You will get a fuller picture of the significance of Holy Communion and of salvation history and experience the warm fellowship that always comes from sharing food together.
For an entertaining 2 minute version of the haggadah or order of service read this article here. Another article worth reading is this one about the mysterious nature of the part of the meal when a piece of bread is hidden in the room – the afikomen – and whether it could represent Jesus. It’s also intriguing that the matzo unleavened bread – which is like a cracker – has stripes on it (see image) – this has led some to say that this represents the ‘stripes’ of Jesus:
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
I adapted this version of the Passover meal myself for a church setting. There are parts for a number of readers – in the normal passover meal the people who take part are the mother at the beginning – lighting the candles and then the father is the one who tells the story with questions from the youngest boy. My version enables a number of different people to take these roles – use it in the best way that suits your setting.
View and download the order of service or haggadah here, as it’s a Christian one it contains references to the New Testament:
This is the food you’ll need to buy for the main parts of the meal. You will also need to cook a hearty meal as well – search online for popular passover recipes or make something simple like Shepherd’s Pie.
Matzos (crackers – find in health food aisle or with crackers)
Red Grape Juice/Cranberry Juice/Wine/sherry
A boiled egg
A lamb bone – cleaned and dried
You’ll need to make haroset – a sticky sweet mixture that represents the clay of the bricks made by the Hebrews in captivity in Egypt.
This is a sweet mud like mixture:
1 apple, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons of sweet red wine or grape juice
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon of honey
Prepare all the ingredients and then mix together well. The resulting mixture should be lumpy and of a similar consistency to heavy porridge or moist stuffing. If you have a food processor, the easiest way to make haroset is to roughly blend it all in one go, adding the apple at the end.