First Posted: 4/1/2012
The Sweet Valley Church of Christ will host a model Passover Seder on April 4 led by North American Director of Jews for Jesus Jhan Moskowitz.
The Passover Seder is a symbolic meal that recalls and celebrates the Jews’ redemption from slavery in Egypt. The Jews for Jesus organization also believes it represents a greater redemption through Jesus, the Passover Lamb.
Participants at the model Seder will experience the symbolic foods of the Seder plate firsthand as Moskowitz tells the story of the slaves’ emancipation, but it will not be the hours-long celebration typically enjoyed by several generations of family members.
“It will really be informative, rather than a demonstration, and it will have some participation from those who attend,” said Moskowitz.
Joel Stauffer, preacher at Sweet Valley Church of Christ, said the Seder is important because of its historical value.
“It leads us to the Lord’s Supper,” he said.
A Lord’s Supper will be held immediately after the Seder meal.
Moskowitz said the event helps Christians understand the beginnings of their own religion while also granting exposure to the Jews for Jesus organization.
“It’s important for the church so they can have an understanding of their own Jewish roots,” he said. “Coming to the Passover event, most people, if not all, walk away with deeper understanding of the Lord’s Supper and they believe their worship is deeper and more enriched.”
He said more than 100 missionaries from all over the world involved with Jews for Jesus perform between 10 and 15 Seder demonstrations during the Passover season to spread the group’s message and help church congregations learn more about their faith.
This model Seder is different from a traditional Jewish Seder in that those participating find new and different meaning in the symbols involved in the tradition.
For example, a Seder involves four cups of wine. Moskowitz said Messianic Jews believe the fourth cup, which one drinks after the meal, is the blood of Christ because Jesus speaks about this in the New Testament in the Bible. However, Orthodox Jews believe it is the blood of sacrificed lambs.
“Believers in Jesus see Christ clearly portrayed in the meal, while to non-Christian Jews, that’s not what it means, and that’s OK,” he said. “Different faith communities understand symbols the way they do.”
The Seder plate typically includes unleavened bread, which Moskowitz said represents Jesus’ “sinlessness”; parsley, which represents springtime; a bitter herb, usually horseradish, which represents the bitterness of slavery; a cup of salt water representing the slaves’ tears; haroset, made from apples, cinnamon and raisins, which is made to resemble the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves; and a hard-boiled egg, which represents the offerings given at the temple in Jerusalem.
Another part of the Seder plate is a roasted lamb bone, which represents the lamb sacrificed in the temple in Jerusalem.
“I think I would say that if you want to learn more about what you believe, want to love Jesus more, want to find out how much God really loves us, Passover is a great place to discover that,” said Moskowitz.
This year, Passover begins on Friday, April 6 and ends on Saturday, April 14.
What: Model Seder led by Jhan Moskowitz, North American director of Jews for Jesus
Where: Sweet Valley Church of Christ, 4539 Main Road, Sweet Valley
When: Wednesday, April 4, 7 p.m. The Seder will last 75 minutes.
Contact: Call the church at 477-2320 to reserve a seat. The event is free and open to the public.