It’s been really busy the past couple of weeks. Aside from my day job, I’ve been involved in a lot of church activities so there was really no letup of tasks a day after the Family Day. Good Friday was still a sunny, sizzling afternoon as expected, and our church had a lovely program to observe the day and officially break the Lenten fast.(Yup, I’m no longer vegan again!)
We did the Seder, or the Passover meal service, along with the traditional Seven Last Words service, not just to recall the suffering of Jesus Christ, but also to help us see the significance of Christ, who represents the Passover lamb. Through this, participants in the service go through the Lord’s Supper in a reflective and solemn way.
The Seder service began with the blessing of the meal, done with the lighting of candles and a little prayer.
There are four cups of wine that are to be drunk at various stages of the meal, with each cup symbolizing the four promises of God to the Israelites, as found in Exodus 6:6-7. Here, we substitute grape juice for the wine.
The unleavened bread recalls the food the Israelites had to bring with them on the night they were set free. It was unleavened because they had no time to prepare leavened bread. Furthermore, leaven also was a symbol of corruption.
The bitter herbs and the lettuce placed in each table are dipped in salt water. The bitter herbs (for this program, the church used ampalaya)symbolizes the bitter affliction while the lettuce stands for the bunch of hyssop the Israelites used to smear blood on their door. The salt water stands for the tears of slavery and sorrow of the Israelites in Egypt
The egg, called hagigah, symbolizes the mourning for the destruction of the holy temple in Jerusalem. While the shell stands for the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, the egg’s shape is a sign of new birth and eternal life. In this regard, it stands for God’s desire to break the sadness and hardness of every person’s hearts and be born into new and everlasting life with Him.
Some of the bitter herbs are also dipped into the charoset, a paste made from apples, raisins and dates. The charoset‘s color is a reminder of the bricks that the Israelites were compelled to make, while its sweet taste symbolizes the hope that God would free them. In essence, it is a statement of remembering that even the most bitter things in life can be sweetened by hope in God.
Some lentils and a piece of lamb are also on each plate and comprise the main meal.
Two days later, an Easter Sunrise service was held at the church’s rooftop at 5 am, followed by a breakfast fellowship and an Easter Egg hunt for children.
Things didn’t get less busy after that, though.