When Eric and Sheri Sands married, they faced a decision familiar to many interfaith couples; how to combine and honor their own traditions. Below, secondary Cornerstone parent, Sheri Sands, shares their family's approach to celebrating Passover.
We are an interfaith family, my husband is a Jewish believer, I am a Gentile believer who observes the entire book, and our daughter a bridge between the two. When we married and started our own family, we decided to raise our family in the Messianic faith. In short, Messianic belief is Jewish people who believe in Christ our Savior and Gentile believers who observe all of G-d's appointed festivals.
We love the rhythm of Jewish life; Friday night Sabbath dinners, and seven major festivals we observe throughout the year. The high holidays are the “guard rails” that keep us planning, celebrating and focused on G-d's plan for us all year long. However, Passover is by far my favorite!
Leading Up to Passover
The week leading up to Passover, my daughter and I clean out our pantry and remove all food items containing leaven, Duet 16:3 “… Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction…”; 1 Cor 5:7-8 “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
While this is a Jewish tradition and we know we are a new creation in Christ, we choose to honor my husband’s family and Jewish traditions by cleaning out the “leaven”. The yeast represents sin and as tradition would have it, they would then use a feather to remove even the tiniest of crumbs. This tradition is a wonderful reminder to be cognizant of how sin works its way into our lives. It can start with just the smallest ‘jot’.
Our Jewish Messiah was in the upper room celebrating a Passover Seder(also known as the Last Supper) with his disciples the night before He was arrested and crucified.
“On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
Jesus used the Passover meal as an opportunity to teach a much deeper lesson about G-d and His plan for the salvation of His people.
So, the Passover celebration is a big deal at my house. Yeshua opened up the Passover Seder to being more than a religious observance; it became a Communion Table in which he invited His disciples to partake of His fullness and life.
The Haggadah is the book we use that takes us through the spiritual journey of the Passover Seder. The beginning of the Haggadah declares, “All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy come and celebrate Passover.” In traditional Jewish teachings, this is thought to be an invitation to those already around the Seder table to be mentally present and ready to receive the gift of the Seder event. However, our family prefers to see this in a more literal sense.
Our tradition is to invite all who want to celebrate to join us at our table. Most years we have 4 or 5 families and a few “strays” that come together for a traditional celebration. G-d’s festivals are to be joyous feasts! (except Yom Kippur) Each family brings a portion of the meal and the ritual items for the Seder plate. We eat traditional Jewish foods, read through the Haggadah, sing songs, and pray!
Looking Forward to Pentecost
My family observes Shavuot, this Firstfruit Festival of the wheat harvest as a remembrance of our Savior’s ultimate sacrifice and our gratitude and love for all He gave for us.
“May the Lord Bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Cornerstone families- Do you have a tradition from your own culture that others might find interesting? Email us to share your traditions, we would love to feature you in an upcoming blog.