Every year we try to do something special for the girls at CDP to help them gain a deeper understanding of why we celebrate Holy Week and Easter. This year was going to definitely be different because the government elections were scheduled for Easter Sunday, which meant no religious services or any other group meetings allowed.
On Friday we focused on the Last Supper, and what Jesus was actually celebrating with his disciples that night. We had a Seder meal that was designed for children so that our girls could better understand the meaning behind the Last Supper. It was very exciting to see their minds connect with Bible stories they’ve heard for so many years, and really see them grasp the deeper meaning to them.
We had them all sit on the floor, so that they could be ‘reclining’, and so that it was something different and unique to help them remember that night. All the kids had fun participating in the Passover story and it was great watching their faces as they tried things like horseradish and parsley dipped in salt water.
While we enjoy many different kinds of fresh fruits here, grape juice is not one of them, so when we served the grape juice during the meal, I had to reassure them all that we were not serving wine, but just grape juice (actually apple-grape juice since the grape juice was scarce). They thought it was great that they got to drink during the meal as the custom here is to wait until the end of their meal. We also all had a laugh as I tried my hand at the Hebrew blessing that is said before drinking each cup, after a few times, they all wanted to try too!
There was a mix of sobering reality and lightheartedness when it came to the Afikomen. In the Messianic tradition, the Afikomen, which is the center piece of matzoh in the Unity of the 3 matzoh that are used during the Seder, represents the Messiah. This piece is taken out and broken in half, then wrapped in a white linen cloth and hidden away. When Jesus was with his disciples eating this meal, it was this piece of unleavened bread that he called his body which was broken for us. Later on in the meal, the children have to go looking for the Afikomen and the one who finds it can ‘ransom’ it for a treat or prize. Now, in most families there are not 21 children searching for the Afikomen, so it was a bit crazy at our house, but they all had a good time looking for it, and all were happy when Lourdes finally found it.
This was definitely an adventure for all of us, as the Seder meal takes us through a journey of emotions: the sadness and bitterness of slavery, the joyousness in being liberated, the sobering reality of the sacrifice required for our salvation, and the hope of being united with one another and our Messiah in the year to come.