No “Christian Seders,” Please!

I don’t think I’ve ever reblogged another’s material before, but after seeing this reblogged at the Rosh Pina Project, I was compelled to read the original. Having read the original, I found myself greatly impressed by this thoughtful woman’s insights and sensitivity and thought it important to share.

Addendum: I think this news story is the flip side to the plea for “no Christian seders:” Passover: The Jewish Holiday for Gentiles.

Sicut Locutus Est

155 NOTE: In March 2013, I posted a series of Facebook Notes about so-called “Christian Seders” and the special obligation Christians have in Lent and Holy Week especially to be vigilant about the way our observances may have an impact on Jews, Christian understandings of Judaism, and related matters. I have been asked by several colleagues to re-post these reflections this year. I am happy to do so. I need to make it clear, however, that I am not an expert on these matters. What I say below is my take on controverted questions, born mostly of my own reading and of my interfaith relationships. Please take them as such.

No “Christian Seders,” Please!

With Holy Week on the horizon,  many Christian congregations have started announcing Seder dinners to observe Maundy Thursday. People of good will recognize this as a devout and well-intentioned attempt to honor the Jewishness of Jesus, and…

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6 thoughts on “No “Christian Seders,” Please!”

  1. My issue relative to churches and Passover probably isn’t as strong as the original author of the blog post, but I like her zeal relative to supersessionism. Since I’m intermarried, I have a seder at home every Pesach. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad for churches to hold seders, but I do think it can send a wrong message from Christianity to Jewish people, that “your Passover is now ours.”

    Probably the best option would be for a church to “partner” with a local synagogue or even Jewish Christians in the congregation (one of the Jewish attendees of the church I go to is holding a seder this year and inviting anyone who wants to come) to avoid the impression of “poaching” on a Jewish festival.

    BTW mevashir, I allowed all of the links you inserted in your comment but as a first time commenter here, please be gentile with links to external sources, especially lengthy videos. Thanks.

  2. Hooo boy – I didn’t see any comments after Bill Boyer’s, but I’ll bet they came fast and furiously. But I am deeply touched, and am thinking I’ll need to be doing things differently. This year the only yeast I cleaned out was the Fleischmans in the fridge … now that I’m not one-law, many things are falling away and I’m not sure I like it, but am having to re-think a lot of what I do. Your blogs help a lot.

  3. I saw the direction the discussion on Facebook was going Michele, and I deleted my post. It was a direct link to the original blog article, not my reblog here. The original blogger shut down comments on her post because things were getting out of hand. I didn’t anticipate this sort of impact, especially from a Christian author’s work. Apparently, many Christians are very invested in holding their own seders in churches rather than do so in association with either a local Jewish synagogue or Jewish attendees/members of the church.

    1. No doubt, James, that many of the Christians who are so invested in holding their own seders are motivated by the same cause as motivates the Hebrew Roots phenomenon — they seek a more genuine ceremony closer to what they perceive Rav Yeshua to have done at the last supper. However, regrettably, I suspect that most are unable to see past its interpretation as an augmented sort of communion service — meaning that they still don’t understand the very thing they seek. And they would be hesitant to accept that they would need to go beyond and look farther back in history to appreciate that which Rav Yeshua and his disciples were appreciating. They would need to place themselves in the shoes (sandals?) of the slaves leaving Egypt who could know nothing about Rav Yeshua and the later metaphorical interpretations he would assign to symbols representing their story. And only after they had entered into that perspective could they retreat forward in time to consider those symbols and the added meaning then provided, as well as their own position as outside the covenant but alongside it and seeking its nourishment as grafted-in outsiders who couldn’t actually wear the sandals they had just envisioned. A real Seder, however, would tend to push them in that somewhat uncomfortable direction.

  4. This is the same sort of quandary I experienced week before last. The church I attend wasn’t holding a seder, but the Pastor was going to give a lesson on Passover, which is fine and well, but it included some Passover songs, a few seemed traditional, but the title of others seemed to be humorous or even parodies.

    The kicker for me was that at the end of the service, communion was to be offered. This church usually only has communion services in the evening, but chose to link Passover to communion. I debated within myself whether or not to attend, and then my wife asked me to help a friend of hers move that weekend and my dilemma was solved.

    But in Christianity, we see “the last supper” as a sort of rewrite on the original intent of Passover and what it means to the Jewish people. It becomes impossible for believers to completely divorce ourselves from the celebration because it is so closely tied into the crucifixion and resurrection of the Master, which inaugurated the start of the New Covenant.

    The answer for me is taken care of by the family seder with my Jewish wife and kids, but what do Gentiles do, because what I’ve suggested above, to recognize and honor Passover, both in recognition of the Master and in solidarity with the Jewish people, particularly if said-Gentiles live in an area with little to no Jewish presence?

    1. Like the author of the original post, I’m closing comments since I’m receiving a lot more “static” in response to this “reblog” than I anticipated. I actually had to delete a link to the original article I posted on Facebook due to “disturbing” feedback. Thank you for your understanding.

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