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Introduction: The following texts can be used during a meal, as an event in its own right, or as a preface to Holy Communion.

A Passover meal is valuable in helping people to understand the link between Passover and Holy Communion, and the truths which lie behind the rituals and ceremonies of the two events.

Opening Prayer

Lord God our Father, we meet as members of your family to share together this special meal. We are to eat the Passover in readiness for your great act of redemption, as Israel ate the night of the Exodus.

We are to celebrate the Passover as Jesus did with his disciples the night in which his Passion began, his great act of salvation.

We thank you for this time of remembering, with sincere gladness and great sadness, awed by your power and humility and love.

Explanation

Introductory blessings and grace before the meal.

President:
Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation,
Maker of the fruits of the earth.
Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation,
You have chosen us because you love us.
You have given us this food to share with you
the great festival of Passover;
the meal you shared with your closest disciples in the Upper Room,
the meal you share with us now.
Bless us, 0 Lord,,and bless this food we are to eat.

(Candles are lit)

Assistant:
As at the Passover, as all mothers would, let us all stretch our hands towards the candles and ask a blessing on us.

All:
May the Lord be gracious and bless us.
May he make his face to shine upon us.
May he keep this his family in peace and love for ever and, ever. Amen.

The traditional question

Assistant:
A child now asks the traditional question,

First child stands to ask:
Why is this night different from ail other nights?

President:
We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt; the Lord our God brought us out therefrom with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Blessed be he who keeps his promise to Israel. Blessed be he. The Holy One planned the end of bondage to fulfil the promise made to Abraham our father - 'Know of a surety that thou shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them 400 years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve will I judge; and afterwards they shall come outwith great substance.‘

And also on this night Christ Jesus, our Lord, the promised Messiah, instituted the, blessed sacrament of his body and blood and offered himself in sacrifice to God for our redemption, opening the gates of heaven to all mankind. Blessed be he who keeps his promise to his people Israel.

And it is this promise which has stood by our ancestors and by us, for it was not just one person but many who rose up against us to destroy us. But the Holy One, blessed be he, delivered us from their hands.

Assistant:
And we cried unto the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil, and our oppression. And the Lord brought us forth, out of the' land of Egypt, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs and with wonders.

President:
For how many are the increasing kindnesses bestowed upon us by the Almighty?
If he had brought us out of Egypt and not performed great wonders...

All (respond after each phrase):
We would have thought it sufficient.

President:
If he had performed great wonders and not passed over our ?rstborn...
If he had passed over our firstborn and not divided the sea for us...
If he had divided the sea for us and not caused us to pass through it on dry land...

If he had caused us to pass through it on dry land and not supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years...

If he had supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years and not fed us with manna...
If he had fed us with manna and not given us the sabbath to rest...

(The remaining phrases are spoken by an Assistant with the congregation responding; 'We would have thought it sufficient.')

Assistant:
If he had given us the sabbath and not given us the Commandments...
If he had given us the Commandments and not brought us into the land of Israel...
If he had brought us into the land of Israel and not built the temple for us...
If he had built the temple for us and not sent the Messiah to save us...
If he had sent the Messiah and he had not been God's own Son...
If he had sent his own Son and he had not suffered as a man for us...
If he had suffered for us and not died for us...
If he had died for us and not risen from the dead...
If he had risen from the dead, giving us a pledge of our resurrection,
and had not left us the gift of his abiding presence in the Holy Spirit and in the
Eucharist...

All:
We would have thought it sufficient.

President:
How much greater is our praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, our God, for all the blessings he has heaped upon us.

Second child stands to ask:
Why do we eat lamb on this night? What does it mean?

President:
It is to remind us that when God slew the first-born Egyptians he commanded our
forefathers 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 firstborn were not slain. The lamb was
an offering made to God when God led our forefathers out of the land of slavery. When
Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, came on earth, he offered himself as the Paschal Lamb
to redeem us from sin. 'Behold the lamb of God/ says St John. ‘Behold him who takes
away the sin of the world.’

Third child stands to ask:
Why do we eat Matzah, unleavened bread, on this night?

President:
We remember this ?ight of our forefathers from Egypt when there was no time for the
dough to become leavened. It was this unleavened bread which our Lord took and blessed
at the celebration of the Passover on the night before he died ‘

Fourth child stands to ask:
Why do we drink wine on this night? What does it mean?

President:
Wine was drunk by our forefathers to celebrate their delivery from Egypt, and it was this wine that our Lord took and blessed, and gave to his disciples.

Fifth child stands to ask:
Why do we eat bitter herbs? What do they mean?

President:
When our forefathers were slaves in Egypt, their masters embittered their lives with hard labour and cruelty and oppression. We remember too the sufferings of all oppressed people in the world, especially the cruel history of the oppression of the Jewish and coloured races. We beg forgiveness for our part in this, remembering our unity with all mankind as children of God.

We dip our bitter herbs in salt water to recall the shedding of tears that suffering entails, echoing the prophecy'of the Messiah as ’a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. We recall too the saying of Jesus, If any man will come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.‘

The eternal message

President:
In every generation it is the duty of each individual to regard himself as though he had gone forth out of Egypt as it is said, 'And thou shalt tell thy son in that day saying it is because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.”

Assistant:
For not only our ancestors did the Holy One redeem, but also did he redeem us with them, as it is said, ‘And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give the land which he swore unto our forefathers.”

President:
So, brothers and sisters, with Christ Jesus and his disciples, eat this Passover supper, as men and women who have been freed from slavery, about to journey to the Promised Land, and give thanks to the Lord our God, for his mercy endures for ever.

All:
Praise the Lord for he has made us free, and his mercy endures for ever.

(Source of text unknown)

Gallery :: FFF: A Passover Meal

FFF: A Passover Meal

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