INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LEADER: Please watch this helpful Youtube video first!
Leader: "Today, Grace United Family Church, and all who desire to join us, set aside time to worship our King and remember that He has set us free from the bondage of sin. We join with our elder brothers, the Jews, as they celebrate the Passover, recalling the details of the Great Exodus. This is the time all of God’s people should remember the great things He has done for us. The details of this remembrance have changed over the years, as generations have adjusted to their circumstances and needs, but the heart of it remains; God commanded the children of Israel to remember what He did for them and it is done through the observance of ‘Seder’, a Jewish ritual service and ceremonial dinner for Passover. We take this time to remember, celebrating what God our Savior has done for us! Let’s get started."
Leader: "As you may have guessed from the video, the Seder is a time of joyful celebration as the Jews thank God for taking them out of slavery in Egypt and Christians celebrate Christ who, through His death and resurrection has delivered us from sin."
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: "Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) can rejoice: God has grafted all believers into the true Vine which is Christ, where Jew and Gentile are declared as one by God Himself. This is why we will say ‘we’ and ‘us’ as we recount the Exodus story."
All: "O God, we come to You recognizing You are the source of all we have and all we are. We set apart this night to remember Your mighty acts as You preserved and protected us. You have given Yourself to all who believe in You. We rest in Your love, Your sovereignty, Your judgment, and Your redemption. We declare our faith in You as did Your chosen people, the Jews, before us.
“We rejoice that through Your Son You have issued a gracious invitation to the world to be free from the bondage of sin, ignorance and
“In the presence of loved ones and friends and with the symbols of festive rejoicing before us, we gather now for our sacred celebration. With the household of Israel and all who call themselves by Your Name, we are linked with the past and bonded with the future. We remember the day on which the ancient Jewish people went forth from Egypt, from the house of bondage, and how the LORD freed them with a mighty hand. It was not simply they who went forth, but all of us who have been freed from the bondage of idol worship and sin. We stand with those He has chosen to be a separate and peculiar people to whom He has revealed His Torah, which is His teaching, and the way of true life."
THE LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES
Hostess: “May the festival lights we now kindle inspire us to use our gifts to spread Your Word and light to all the world. Use us, O God, to heal and not harm, to help and not hinder, to bless and not curse, to serve You O God, our Rock and Redeemer.
All: "Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us in Yeshua, in Whose Name we light the festival lights. Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has grafted us into the True Vine.”
OBSERVANCE OF THE FOUR CUPS
The First Cup: The Cup of Sanctification
Leader: "The word ‘sanctification’ means 'to separate,' 'to be holy.' It is our faith in Yeshua, Messiah of Israel, who sanctifies us and separates us to live holy lives. Let us raise the first cup together and proclaim the holiness of this day of deliverance."
All: “Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the universe, Who makes the fruit of the vine, Who has chosen us from all people and lifted us up and made us holy.”
The Second Cup: The Cup of Deliverance
Leader: "The Cup of Deliverance is based on YHWH’s second promise to Israel in Exodus 6:6, 'I will free you from your slavery.' In the same way, Paul tells us in Colossians 1:13 that God has freed us, or torn us away from the kingdom of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son. Let us raise the second cup."
All: “Blessed are You, O LORD our God, Who redeemed us and brought us to this night. So, O LORD, You will bring us into Your new city. You have put a new song into our hearts, a song of praise and thanksgiving for our redemption and the liberation of our souls. Blessed are you, O LORD, Redeemer of Israel and all nations. Thank you for declaring us righteous through faith in Yeshua and delivering us from Your judgment and wrath.”
The Third Cup: The Cup of Redemption
Leader: "The Cup of Redemption recalls God’s third promise to Moses: 'I will redeem (Hebrew: ga’al) you with an outstretched arm.' A ga’al is one who pays a ransom for the life of another. He who redeemed our fathers from Egypt has redeemed us with His own blood. According to Psalm 49:7-9, 'Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.' Yet, according to Psalm 49:15, 'God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.' God promises in Psalm 34:22, 'The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.'
All: "The LORD is my Rock and my Redeemer."
Leader: "As we raise the cup of Redemption, we look forward to His promise in the New Covenant as He tells us in Jeremiah 31:33-34: "I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the LORD. 'For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.'”
All: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
The Fourth Cup: The Cup of Praise
Leader: "We now come to the fourth cup, the Cup of Praise, also called the Cup of the Kingdom. This cup is based on God’s fourth promise in Exodus 6:7, 'I will take you as My people and I will be your God.' The disciples drank, thinking the time had come for their Master to march triumphantly into Jerusalem. But Messiah knew there was another cup from which He had to drink. He did not drink from this one. Instead, He said, 'I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s Kingdom.' We will not drink from this cup this day. On Resurrection Sunday, we will illustrate the full meaning of Christ’s words, 'Do this in remembrance of Me.'"
All: “Your promises are true. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
WE RECOUNT THE EXODUS STORY
WE EXPERIENCE SONGS OF PRAISE
Leader: "Please open your Bible to Exodus 15 and read aloud, the songs of Moses and Miriam. Moses’ song is verses 1-18; Miriam’s song is found in verse 21.
(For Leader: Choose volunteers to read the songs)
(For Leader: Prepare for the meal. Christians usually "say grace" before a meal. Jews typically return thanks after they have eaten. The choice is yours at what point to pray)
TIME FOR DINNER (30 min.)
Leader: "After dinner, we step into the world of tradition. These traditions have been observed by faithful Jews for many centuries and have served to preserve the knowledge of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob throughout their dark and tumultuous history. Historians recognize The miracle of the Jews’ survival as just that; a miracle. However, countless other peoples have disappeared into oblivion without a fraction of the adversity suffered by the Jews. Let’s look into this."
Leader: "The first tradition we observe is a song that all Jewish families sing as they celebrate Passover. It’s called "Dayneu" (Die-A-new). It is very repetitive and children find it rather boring. The word Dayneu means, ‘enough’. The lyrics basically go like this:"
Leader: "If He had just brought us out of Egypt, it would have been enough."
Leader: "If He had just split the sea for us, it would have been enough."
Leader: "If He would have fed us just the manna, it would have been enough."
Leader: "If He had just given us Sabbath, it would have been enough."
Leader: "If he had just brought us before Mt. Sinai, it would have been enough."
Leader: "If He had not given us Torah (but He did!), it would have been enough."
Leader: "If He had just brought us into the land of Israel, it would have been enough."
THE SEDER PLATE
Leader: "There are 7 elements of the Seder Plate."
1. Leader: "We begin with the MATZOH in the center of the plate. This represents Jesus’ holy, unleavened, perfect sacrifice. It also represents the bread of affliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. It is the essential ingredient of the Passover celebration. It is made carefully, with no detail left out. Notice the characteristics: It is striped, pierced and bruised. Slaves on the run didn’t have time to build proper ovens, so their bread, besides being made without yeast, had to be grilled, which leaves lines, or stripes."
All: “By His stripes we are healed.”
Leader: "There was only flame on one side, so the matzoh was pierced for more even heat."
All: “He was pierced for our transgressions.”
Leader: "Where the flame touches the bread it leaves dark spots that look like bruises."
All: “He was bruised for our iniquities.” (From Isaiah 53:5)
2. Leader: "MAROR is bitter herbs which represent the outworking of sin in our lives. It reminds us that the Egyptians embittered the lives of our fathers in Egypt, as is said in the Torah, Exodus 1:14: 'They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar
and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.' We are also reminded that sin is the most ruthless of all taskmasters. Sin ensnares us, putting us in bondage to pain, fear, anxiety, and worst of all, it separates us from God. But faith in Yeshua frees us from the tyranny of sin."
(Everyone eats maror and matzoh together)
3. Leader: "PARSLEY and SALTWATER. The Cup of Sanctification we drank was red in color, reminding us of the blood of the
Passover lamb. The greens remind us of the hyssop that applied this blood to the doorframes of the homes of the Hebrew slaves. The saltwater reminds us of tears shed in bondage and of the waters of the Red Sea through which our fathers passed to safety. Let us dip the greens in the salt water and eat it as we identify with the children of Israel who were the first to find protection and safety under the blood of the Lamb."
(Everyone dip and eat)
4. Leader: "THE BONE represents Christ, our Paschal, or Passover, Lamb. This bone represents something huge. For 4 days the people of Israel took into their homes a lamb—young, perfect, sweet, innocent. It lived in the house with them until the appointed time when it was sacrificed, or killed. The blood of this little lamb was then applied to the doorpost of the house in obedience to Moses’ command. Did they know why this was to be done? Probably not fully. Was it a happy time for them, especially the children? No. This lamb had quickly become a beloved pet and now they were sad about their little lamb and frightened about all that was going on around them. The stress within each home must have been incalculable! Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb. He came to earth young, innocent, perfect. Luke 2:52 tells us that He grew up among us, beloved by God and man. Then came the appointed time when He was taken out and killed. His blood was applied to the doorposts of our souls, covering our sin, protecting us from the ultimate judgment on the Final Day."
5. Leader: "THE EGG represents the empty tomb. The roasted egg is the Jewish traditional food of mourning. When our Lord and Savior was killed on the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb, His disciples mourned deeply. They were horrified, confused, terrified, and hopeless; worthy of our pity and compassion. However, as we now know, the disciples’ grief was far from the end of this story. That tomb did not stay occupied. Hosea 13:14 says, “Where, O death, are your plagues, where, O grave is your destruction?” Jesus Christ, Son of the living God is the exact representation of the glorious majesty of the God of the universe according to Hebrews 1:3. By His own power, He took His own life back from death, got up, and walked out of the now-empty tomb, never to die again!"
(Break open the egg and spill the contents on the plate)
Leader: "The candy in the egg represents the sweet reality the disciples tasted when they finally understood that their dear teacher and Lord was not only with them again, but He really was the Messiah of Israel, exactly as prophesied, and so much more!"
(Anyone who desires may eat the candy)
6. Leader: "CHAROSET represents good works and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Interestingly in Jewish culture, the charoset represents the joy and dancing that took place as the Israelites were leaving Egypt. It is eaten together with the bitter herbs and the
matzoh in a sandwich form. We will do the same but with a different focus. The matzoh represents Christ. The bitter herbs remind us of the bitterness of repentance from the sin that kept us in bondage. The charoset represents our joy in Christ."
(Everyone makes a sandwich and eats)
7. Leader: "LETTUCE represents spiritual growth. Now that the work of salvation is done, we must face this fact and never forget that God intends to change us and remake us into a people who reflect the holiness of Christ our Savior. This is a great mystery that is between our King and us, both corporately and individually. As we eat the lettuce, let us declare our willingness to be changed into what He wants us to be.
All: “We welcome You, our God and King, to make us into the people You want us to be. May we live out our lives continually conforming to the image of Christ our Savior and Lord.”
(Everyone eats a bit of lettuce)
Leader: "There is one last element of the Seder celebration we will take note of--the tradition of Elijah’s Place. In the Jewish home on Passover, a place is set but never used. This is Elijah’s place. The tradition is that at a future Passover, Elijah will join them and tell the Jews that their Messiah is soon to appear. For centuries they have set a place and opened the door in the hope that he will walk in, sit down and give them the good news of the Messiah’s arrival. We have chosen not to observe this tradition. Luke 17:11-13 records Jesus telling His disciples that Elijah had already come in the person of John the Baptist. The Messiah has come and is coming again. The Jews did not understand; not because they did not have the information they needed, but because God’s promises did not present themselves in the way they expected they would. Let’s take a quick walk through history."
Leader: "God said: 'I have set you free!'"
All: "But the people said: 'What’s for dinner?'"
Leader: "God said: 'I will take you to the Promised Land.'"
All: "But the people said: 'It was more comfortable in Egypt.'"
Leader: "God said: 'I will feed you.'"
All: "But the people said: 'Just Manna?!'"
Leader: "God said: 'I will lead you.'"
All: "But the people said: 'Just Moses?!'"
Leader: "God said: 'Your Messiah is here!'"
All: "But the people said: 'Just Jesus?!'"
Testimonies of Deliverance: "This is now your opportunity to share with one another how Christ alone has delivered you from the bondage of sin and what He means to you today."
(All who desire to share may do so)
Leader: "Let’s remember this day what Christ has done for us and seek to be a grateful people because after all, Dayenu! He IS enough."
All: “Next year in Jerusalem!”
Leader: "The Seder Celebration is complete."
Afikomen Information, Written by Rebecca Zieset:
At the beginning of the meal, we broke off a piece of matzoh and hid it. Now, it is the kids’ job to go find the bread and return it to the table. The finder gets a prize! Ready set go!
By the first century, some Jewish people viewed the bread as symbolic of the people of Israel and the hidden piece, the afikomen (a-fee-KO-men), as a symbol of the Messiah, who remained hidden from view. When Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples in the upper room, He broke the bread we know as the afikomen and instead of hiding it, distributed it to His disciples saying, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
We know that our Messiah’s sinless body was broken in death, wrapped in a cloth and hidden in burial, then brought back, resurrected by the power of God. It is truly a reward to those who find and partake in the life He offers. Traditionally, the afikomen is the last part of the meal, a sort of epilogue if you will. However, we will not partake of the Afikomen this evening. Just as we did not drink from the fourth cup, the cup of praise. On Resurrection Sunday, we will illustrate the full meaning of Christ’s words, "Do this in remembrance of Me."