Passover

The last two years during Easter week we have celebrated Passover as a family (in our very simplified and non-traditional way), and the kids really love it.  We use some of our homeschooling to study the symbolism of everything, and then get to have the hands on experience of remembering what God did for the Israelites in rescuing them from slavery and delivering them out of captivity… and how Jesus is the true fulfillment of the passover!

There are so many object lessons in this Jewish feast that Jesus has fulfilled, and it so fun to see the kids grasp these concepts through the tangible experience of a meal.

We use a stuffed lamb as our passover lamb that we bring into the home, then slaughter it, and paint blood on the door of the house.  They love that part!  Last year we used ketchup, but dad wasn’t too happy about how that dried on and didn’t really come off, so this year we modified it to use water with red food coloring.  All three kids took their turns painting the blood on the doorpost and lintel.  This is really the crux of it for us, because we talk about how Jesus is the true passover lamb, who gave up His life for us to set us free from sin and slavery.  He was the unblemished lamb, who was sacrificed, and takes away the sins of the world.

Then we bake our unleavened bread and discuss the symbolism of both how the Israelites didn’t have time to let their bread rise because they had to leave in haste, but also how biblically yeast represents sin, and Jesus is the bread of life, without sin, broken for us (tying into communion).

We have our special dinner with our seder plate, complete with the following:
+the lamb bone (the Passover lamb who was slain)
+karpas (parsley dipped in salt water representing the tears of the Israelites in their slavery, the crossing of the Red Sea and the birth of the new nation — in the new covenant it is our new life in Christ and baptism)
+an egg (represents the hardness of Pharoah’s heart, and was also symbolic of an offering people used to take to the temple)
+maror (bitter herbs – horseradish, symbolizing the bitterness of the lives of the Israelites in their slavery…and our lives apart from Christ)
+charoset (an apple and nut mix symbolizing the bricks and mortar the Israelites had to build for Pharoah… and then representative of the sweetness of our life in Christ)

There is much more symbolism that is a part of celebrating Passover, but we just do what we can with the kids at their ages and with what we have the time and patience for at this point.  There are the four cups of wine (we used grape juice and the kids were loving that part of it in their real wine glasses!), and the bread, and a bunch of other things about it all.  But basically, it a rich time of remembering God setting the Israelites free from their slavery in Egypt and learning about the foreshadowing it was and the true fulfillment of Jesus as our passover lamb.

It was also really neat to be able to help them experience during the holy week the reality of Jesus at the last supper, which was a Passover celebration, and to integrate Jesus taking the bread and the wine and speaking of His blood and His body and the instituting of the new covenant during our own Passover meal.  Children love traditions and they were able to grasp so many of the deeper meanings of it all through these object lessons, and they also feel like it is such a special thing we got to do together.

“Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.  For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”  1 Corinithians 5:7

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