This may be a day late and a dollar short, but we did hold our annual Easter Seder yesterday. The past couple of years we have severed the Easter Seder from Easter Dinner because it works so well on its own on Palm Sunday and allows us to focus all the food prep and hair that needs to be done on Easter morn. We have also simplified a few things to make the whole service so easy to put together that we just have no excuse not to get it done. Last year, Fluffington and I spread out cushions and fabrics and made a floor table.
It was nice, and had a kind of Shabbat feeling to it.
But this year, I wasn’t feeling so well, and definitely not feeling like sitting on the floor, so I asked Kent and the kids to put together the table with our contributions, and for the most part, they did! If I’m being honest, it lacked a little of the magic and pizzazz of last year’s, but I’m entitled to a year off now and then.
Having tried this many different ways, we have discovered it works best to have family style plates of each of the foods/items that we pass around.
You will need:
- a leaf for everyone (we used to get palm leaves from the crosses at the grocery store, now we just grab leaves from our yard.)
- fig jam on crackers or fig newtons
- 2-3 pennies per person
- 3 small pieces of pita per person
- 1-2 dishes of olive oil for dipping
- matzoh crackers with horseradish and haroset (finely diced apples, nuts, sugar and honey)
- cranberry juice (we use the little sauce cups for juices)
- grape juice
- 2 wet wipes per person
- chicken nuggets
- salt water for dipping
- balsamic vinegar for dipping
- cloths for tearing (we’ve started using paper towels instead of cloth)
- cinnamon rolls (This year Martha dipped rhodes rolls in butter and cinnamon sugar and they turned out amazing.)
This year we returned to the kid friendly version of the readings below. I must say the kids get more and more into this every year and really look forward to it. And then make puking noises over the olives and beg for mercy from the horseradish, but whatever.
Sunday: Palm leaves
- On Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people gave him a royal entry by throwing their clothes and palm leaves on his path.
Everyone throws a palm leaf on the ground and together they say: “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt. 20: 9)
Monday: Figs and Coins
- Jesus cursed a fig tree for not bringing forth good fruit. We must bring forth the good fruit of good works and repentance so we will not wither.
Everyone eats a fig cookie (or fig jam on a cracker).
- Jesus cleansed the temple by throwing out the money changers who had polluted the temple with their priestcraft and stealing. Jesus said, “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11: 17)
Everyone throws coins over their shoulder.
Tuesday: Olives and Oil
- Jesus taught in the temple and on the Mount of Olives. He taught us to pray in faith, to forgive others so that Father in Heaven will forgive us, and to prepare ourselves and the world for His second coming. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Mark 12: 30-31)
Everyone eats an olive.
- A woman anointed Jesus with a box of very expensive ointment. The disciples scoffed at this waste and said the ointment ought to have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus said she had done a good work by preparing him for his burial.
Everyone dips a piece of bread in oil and eats it.
Thursday: Haroset, Matzoh, Bread, Juices, and Foot Washing
- Jesus ate the Passover in Jerusalem. At that ceremonial meal, Jesus and his people ate special foods that symbolized the deliverance of the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt. One food eaten at a Seder is haroset with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The haroset symbolized the bricks and mortar that the Hebrews made as slaves in Egypt. The bitter herbs and unleavened bread were two of the foods the Lord told his people to eat on the night that the destroying angel slew all the firstborn in Egypt.
Everyone eats haroset with horseradish and unleavened matzoh.
- During the Passover, Jesus blessed and broke bread and told the disciples to eat it in remembrance of his body.
Everyone eats a piece of bread.
- Then he blessed wine and gave it to his disciples to drink in remembrance of his blood “which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt. 26:28)
Everyone drinks grape juice.
- After dinner, Jesus took a basin and a towel and washed all of the apostles’ feet. He taught that he had also cleansed them all from sin, except Judas Iscariot who was planning to betray him. Jesus told the apostles that they should serve others as he served them. Jesus said, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15)
Everyone washes each other’s feet.
- Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray. He was very sorrowful and fell on the ground. He prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” (Luke 22:4) Jesus took upon himself the punishment for all the sins of mankind. Jesus’s agony was so great that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)
Everyone drinks the bitter cup of cranberry juice.
Friday Morning: Chicken and Salt Water, Hand Washing
- Jesus had been betrayed by Judas Iscariot and taken prisoner by the chief priests. When Peter saw Jesus being beaten and spit upon by the priests, he was so afraid of what might happen to him that he pretended not to know Jesus three times. The previous night, Jesus had warned Peter that Peter would betray him three times before the cock crew on Friday morning. When the cock crowed, Peter realized what he had done, “And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:75)
Everyone dips a piece of chicken in salt water and eats it.
- The priests turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate. Pilate questioned Jesus and found him innocent. He was going to release Jesus, but the Jewish people asked for another man to be released instead and for Jesus to be crucified. Pilate didn’t want to take responsibility for killing Jesus so “he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it… And he delivered [Jesus] to be crucified.” (Matt. 27:24, 26)
Everyone washes their hands.
Friday Afternoon and Evening: Vinegar, A Piece of Cloth
- The guards whipped Jesus, put a crown of thorns on his head and mocked him. They took him to Golgotha and crucified him between two thieves. Darkness came over the land for three hours. Then Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 13:24) One of the guards dipped a sponge in vinegar and gave it to Jesus to drink. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30)
Everyone dips a piece of bread in vinegar and eats it.
- When Jesus died the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
Everyone tears a piece of cloth in half from the top to the bottom.
- Jesus had been taken down from the cross and buried in Joseph of Arimathaea’s tomb. All of Saturday, Jesus’s body lay in the tomb.
Everyone keeps silence for one minute.
Sunday Morning: Sweet Spices and Risen Bread
- On Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and two other women went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. They “had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.” (Mark 16:1) Angels at Jesus’s tomb said to the women, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5-6)
Everyone eats a piece of risen bread with sweet spices.
My favorite part continues to be the minute of silence. Both Kent and I remarked on it last night. How wonderful and strange it is to have all those people together in silence for a solid 60 seconds! And the haroset was particularly good this year, thanks, Martha.
Clean up was easy which left us with plenty of time for a guitar concert from Todd. Oh, and did you see us modelling the spring pastel fashions?