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The Paschal Meal

The Blood of The Lamb

The Church of the Resurrection, Bryanston

Participants:
Narrator
Father
Mother
Child
Remainder of the family

Elements of the Meal:

The following will be needed and is to be placed on the table ready to celebrate the meal.

  • Lamb Bone.
  • Three pieces of Unleavened Bread (Matzoh)
  • Bitter Herbs (Horseradish or Origanum)
  • Green Herbs (Parsley)
  • Haroseth or Haroses (this is made from Grated Apple and Cinnamon)
  • Beitzah (A Hard-Boiled Egg)
  • Wine/Grape Juice (Enough for 4 modest cups each).
  • A Bowl of Saltwater.
  • Candles for the lighting of the Festival Lights.

The Memorial

The Sanctification of the Festival

Narrator: Let us be seated.

The central theme of the Passover is redemption. For us, Passover means not only the physical exodus from Egypt but also our spiritual passing over from slavery-to-sin by reason of our Baptism. The aim of the Paschal Meal in celebration of the Passover is to bring the events and miracles of the past deliverance from Egypt into the present, so that each of us gathered here feels as though we, personally, had come out of slavery.

Kadesh, The Sanctification of the Day

Narrator: We gather for this sacred celebration in the presence of loved ones and friends with the signs of festive rejoicing around us. Together with the whole house of Israel, both young and old are linking the past with the future; we respond in faith to God’s call to service; we gather here to remember the Passover, as it is written:

All: “The feast of unleavened bread must be kept because it was on that same day I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Keep that day from age to age…” (Ex. 12:17)

Narrator: Let us now stand and begin our celebration.
We will now sing: A New Commandment

All: 1. A new commandment I give unto you,
That you love one another as I have loved you,
That you love one another as I have loved you.

2. By this shall all men know that you are My
disciples, if you have love one for another.
By this shall all men know that you are My
disciples, if you have love one for another.

** Repeat

The Lighting of the Festival Lights

Mother: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation, for you have sanctified us by your commandments and have commanded us to kindle the festival lights.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation, for you have kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season.

May our home be consecrated, O God, by the light of your countenance, shining upon us in blessing and bringing us peace.

All: Amen

Narrator: The candles are now lit.

***Please be seated.

The Kiddush – The Blessing of the Feast

Narrator: Please pour a little Wine/Grape Juice into your glass for the first cup of wine, the Cup of Blessing. (Kiddush)
During the celebration, we will drink four cups of wine. The Book of Exodus tells us of the four promises of redemption to Israel. The command to narrate the story of the Exodus is also given four times and questions are to be asked by a child.

A Note: When all have wine/juice, the Father says:

Father: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. You have chosen us above all peoples and have exalted us above all tongues and have hallowed us with your commandments. In love, you have given us festivals for gladness, and times of rejoicing: such as this day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the time of our freedom, a day of holy assembly, a memorial to the exodus from Egypt. For you have chosen us from all peoples, to make us holy and you have given us your sacred seasons for our inheritance. Blessed are you who make holy Israel and the festivals.

Narrator: ***Please would you stand
Raise your first cup of Wine/Grape juice:
The Cup of Blessing.

All: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation;
you create the fruit of the vine.

Narrator: You may now drink the first cup of wine.

***Please now be seated.

Narrator: The green herbs (parsley) are a symbol that nature comes to life in Springtime. The saltwater is symbolic of tears and sorrow. Please take some parsley and dip it in the saltwater.

All: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation;
You create the fruit of the soil.

Narrator: You can now eat the parsley.
A Note: The Father uncovers the three pieces of unleavened bread (matzo) representing the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Lifting them on a plate he says:

Father: Behold! This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want come and celebrate the Passover with us. May it be God’s will to redeem us from all evil and all servitude.

All: Blessed be God!

A Note: The plate is put down and the matzo is covered.

The Haggadah – The Story of the Passover

Narrator: Please pour a little Wine/Grape Juice into your glass for the second Cup of wine, the Cup of Memory (Haggadah).

A Note: The youngest child present now asks the questions.

Narrator: Christ and His disciples and all Jews who celebrate the Passover – tell the Haggadah during the Paschal Meal. Haggadah means ‘retelling.’ It tells of the Israelites’ salvation from the tenth plague because the lintels of their doors had been marked with the blood of the lamb sacrificed at God’s command and of the story of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

Child: Why is this night different from all other nights?

Father: Our parents went down into Egypt and the Egyptians treated us harshly: they made us their slaves. And we called to the Lord for help and he heard us. The Lord brought us out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with great signs and wonders. Blessed is he who keeps his promise to Israel.

Narrator: And on this night, Jesus Christ our Lord, the promised messiah, gave himself as bread and wine and offered himself to God for our redemption.

Child: Why do we eat lamb on this night?

Father: It is to remind us that when God slew the first-born of the Egyptians, he commanded our ancestors to roast a lamb, and eat it and to sprinkle their doorposts with its blood so that these houses were ‘passed over by God, and their first-born not slain. The lamb was an offering made to God when God led our parents out of the land of slavery

Narrator: And Jesus Christ our Lord, the promised Messiah, offered himself as the paschal lamb to redeem us from sin.

Child: Why do we eat unleavened bread on this night?

Father: It is first of all in memory of the flight of our forebears from Egypt when there was no time for the dough to become leavened.

Narrator: It was this unleavened bread which our Lord took and blessed at the Last Supper on the night before he died, and gave to his disciples to eat, saying: “This is my body given for you.”

Child: Why do we drink wine on this night?

Father: Wine was drunk by our forebears to celebrate their delivery from the land of slavery.

Narrator: It was this wine which our Lord gave to his disciples to drink, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”

Child: Why do we eat bitter herbs?

Father: When our parents were slaves in Egypt, the Egyptians embittered their lives with hard labour and oppression and caused them to shed many tears.

Narrator: The bitterness of suffering and death, the fruit of sin, Christ took upon himself and brought about the atonement of the human race with God.

A Note: The Father uncovers the matzo and replies:

Father: The Syrians pursued our ancestors who went down into Egypt and sojourned there in a very small number and grew into a nation great and strong and of an infinite multitude. The Egyptians afflicted and persecuted us, laying on us most grievous burdens. And we cried out to God and God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders. Therefore, even if we were all wise, with all understanding and well versed in the Torah, it would still be our duty from year to year to tell the story of our deliverance from Egypt. Indeed, to dwell at length on it is considered praiseworthy.

Narrator: ***Please would you stand
Raise your second cup of Wine/Grape Juice:

The Cup of Memory.

All: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation; you create the fruit of the vine.

Narrator: You may now drink the second cup of wine.

Narrator ***Please now be seated.

Narrator: The Paschal Lamb or bone is brought in.
Pesach refers to the paschal lamb, sacrificed by our ancestors in memory of the night when the Holy One passed over the houses of our ancestors.
The blood of the Lamb on the doorposts saved them from harm.

The Jews continued this memorial sacrifice of a lamb in the Temple for each family in Jerusalem, at the time of the Passover. The lamb was brought home, roasted and eaten in a memorial meal.
Since the destruction of the Temple, there is no longer animal sacrifice, but the meaning of the Paschal Lamb is retold by Jewish people today during the celebration of Passover (Pesach).

Christians understand that Christ is our Sacrificial Lamb, our Passover or Pesach, who sacrificed Himself for us, and so by His death and resurrection, enabled us to merit passing into eternal life with God. As St. Paul says: “Christ our Passover, has been sacrificed”. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

Let us now eat the boiled egg, which symbolises the sacrificial lamb offered in the Temple, by the Jews in Jerusalem and the sacrifice of Christ whose life is given as a ransom to the slavery of sin.

We who are followers of Christ are reminded that by sharing in the bitterness of Christ’s sufferings we strengthen our hope of salvation.
All now eat some of the bitter herbs dipped in the haroses.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Deliverance from Egypt

A Note: The first of the Hallel psalms, the great psalms of praise, are now recited as a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s great mercy in freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt. These Psalms and the remaining Hallel Psalms which follow the meal were chanted by Jesus and the apostles at the Last Supper. ‘And a hymn being said, they went out to the Mount of Olives.’ (Matthew 26:30)

Narrator: Please pour a little Wine/Grape juice into your glass, this is the Third Cup of wine, the Cup of Thanksgiving. (Hallel)

Narrator: As a preface to the Hallel, the Father, lifting the third cup of wine says:

Father: In every generation, we each should regard ourselves as if we had personally come out of Egypt, as it is written:
‘And on that day you will explain to your children, This is because of what Yahweh did for me when I came out of Egypt.”’ (Exodus 13:8)
Therefore, it is our duty to thank, praise, glorify and extol our God who performed all of these wonders for our ancestors and for us. He has brought forth from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity, from darkness to great light. Let us then recite before our God a new song.

Narrator: Hallel Psalm 113 and 114.
Let us remain seated and pray Psalms 113 and 114.

Narrator Alleluia, praise Yahweh!

Response: You servants of Yahweh, praise, praise the name of Yahweh!

Narrator: Blessed be the name of Yahweh now and always!

Response: From east to west, praised be the name of Yahweh!

Narrator: High over all nations, Yahweh! God’s glory transcends the heavens!

Response: Who is like Yahweh? Enthroned so high, our God needs to stoop to see the sky and earth!

Narrator: Yahweh bends down to raise the poor from the dust; to lift the needy from the mire.

Response: To give them a place with princes, to seat them with their leaders.

Narrator: The childless, no longer alone, rejoice now in many children.

Response: When Israel came out of Egypt, the House of Jacob from a foreign nation,

Narrator: Judah became a holy place, Israel God’s domain.

Response: The sea fled at the sight; the Jordan stopped flowing.

Narrator: The mountains skipped like rams, and like lambs the hills.

Response: Sea, what makes you flee? Jordan, why stop flowing?

Narrator: Why skip like rams, you mountains, why like lambs, you hills?

Response: Quake, earth, at the coming of your master, at the coming of the God of Jacob,

Narrator: Who turns rock into water, flint to gushing streams?

All: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

The Solemn Blessing of the Food.

Narrator: ***Please all stand

A Note: Lifting up the Third Cup of Wine, the father says:

Father: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe. You have made of one earth, one flesh all the peoples of the world. You exalted us by breathing the life of the mind and the love of freedom into us. You sanctify us so that we might know and say what is holy and profane, what is freedom and what is slavery. Blessed are you, Lord our God. You have allowed us to give ourselves and you, solemn days for joy, festivals and seasons of gladness. Blessed are you, Lord our God. You gave Israel this feast of Unleavened Bread, this season of freedom, a memorial of the departure from Egypt. Blessed are you, Lord! You sanctify humankind, freedom, Israel and the seasons.

All: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, you create the fruit of the vine.

Narrator: All drink the third cup of wine, the Cup of Thanksgiving.
***Please all be seated.

A Note: The Father takes a piece of matzo and blesses it with the following prayer

Father: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, you brought forth bread from the earth.

A Note: The Father breaks the matzo into pieces.

Narrator: Please break off a piece of matzo and hold it in your hands.

All: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe. You have sanctified us by your commandments and have commanded us to eat of unleavened bread.

A Note: All now eat the piece of matzo

Narrator: With the remaining matzo let us combine the matzo, the bitter herbs and the haroses and eat them together, as it is written: “with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs, you shall eat it.”

Narrator: From a Christian perspective: In that upper room in Jerusalem towards the end of his public ministry, Jesus sat down in the role of the father of the household with his apostles about him. It was to be a farewell meal and a meal to be commemorated forever. Beginning as the Passover Meal of the Old Covenant, it was transformed into the Eucharist of Holy Communion of the New Covenant.

John prefaced it with these words:
“Before the Passover Meal began, Jesus was aware that the time had come for his passage from this world to the Father. He had always loved his own, whom he was leaving in the world, and now he was to show them the uttermost proof of his love.”
(John 13:1)

Jesus began the meal with these moving words:
“I have longed to share this Passover Meal with you before my passion. I shall not eat again until it finds fulfilment in the Kingdom of God.”
(Luke 22:15-16)

The Gospels place the Last Supper in the context of the Jewish Passover Meal. The Passover sums up all the reason the Jews has to be thankful to God for having made a special Covenant with them; it is their supreme feast of thanksgiving.
The Eucharist of Holy Communion is OUR supreme feast of thanksgiving; it sums up all the reasons Christians have to be thankful to God for having made us the chosen people of His New Covenant.

We have been remembering our slavery and our liberation. The task of liberation/salvation is long, and it is work that we, ourselves, must do. We are about to eat; may our dinner give us strength for our lives. We are about to drink; may our drink give joy in our efforts. May we give each other love and encouragement as we share this meal

The Final Blessing

Narrator: Please pour a little Wine/Grape juice into your glass, this is the Fourth Cup of wine, the Cup of Righteousness (Melchizedek).

Narrator: ***Please stand as we pray Psalm 116

All: How can I repay the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call upon the name of the Lord.
(Psalm 116:12-13)

Narrator: You can now drink the fourth cup of wine, the Cup of Righteousness.

A Note:: The ritual concludes with the ancient blessing from Numbers 6:24-26

Father: May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you
and give you peace.

All: Amen, So be it, so be it.

All Sing: Love is his word, love is his way

Narrator: We will now sing Love is his word, love is his way
1. Love is His word, Love is His way,
Feasting with all, fasting alone,
Living and dying, rising again
Love only love is His way.

Richer than gold is the love of my Lord.
Better than splendour and wealth.

2. Love is His way, love is His mark,
Sharing His last Passover feast.
Christ at the table, host to the twelve Love,
only love, is His mark.

Richer than gold is the love of my Lord.
Better than splendour and wealth.

Narrator: ***Please all be seated.

The Meal

The festival meal now takes place. It is a joyous meal.

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