Something does not have to be big or loud or fancy to be sacred. Holiness doesn’t rest in the décor, or formality of a place. We build sanctuaries and play organs and gather in beautiful buildings and wear nice clothes to remind ourselves of the greatness of our God and our need for one another — not because that is where God lives.
As we reckon with that reality in this uncertain season, we take inspiration from our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is Holy Week in our faith, which means that we are also approaching Passover. Passover is the Jewish religious festival celebrating God freeing the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, and it culminates in the Passover feast, the Seder.
Seders are not celebrated in temples, or with large flower displays, or in huge crowds. The Seder is observed at home, around the dinner table, with your family. It is a series of prayers, readings, blessings, and rituals that involve everyone from the parents to the youngest child, and it highlights the sacred meaning in foods like bread, wine, eggs, roast, and herbs, and in the middle of it, you simply eat dinner together.
It is a beautiful ceremony with immense significance, and it is likely what Jesus was celebrating with his disciples when the scene we know as the Last Supper takes place. So this year, as we celebrate Holy Week in our homes, around tables and living room couches with our families, we wanted to give you an opportunity to dive deeper into this distinctly homey Christian tradition of Maundy Thursday by connecting it to its Jewish roots.
We’ve (with help from Woodbury Lutheran Church) put together a Family Maundy Thursday Dinner guide that follows the structure of a very simplified Seder, and allows you celebrate this sacred night around your dinner table together as a family, as faithful Jews have done for thousands of years, and as Jesus and his friends would have.
This experience is designed for families of all shapes and sizes, be it roommates, married couples, empty nesters whose college-age kids are home from school, whatever. You’re welcome to do as much or as little of it as works for you family, around whatever dinner looks like for you these days. (In fact, take a look at the video below for a prime example of this come-as-you-are, can-do spirit in Kat’s video of baking Matzo from scratch!)
So whether it’s with real wine, and a “youngest child” that is well out of childhood, or it’s a dinner of goldfish and mom telling the story of the last supper as she reads the document off her phone, it’s all good, and it’s all sacred, and God is present there.
Reach out to Kat with any questions about the exercise and let us know how the matzo turns out by tagging FUMC Fort Worth on Instagram or facebook!
Director of Youth Ministries