Passover Seder

(I do not take credit for the script of this post! The original post can be seen here on Megan Lagoy’s blog. Photos were taken during a Seder with the Deaf Church of La Ceiba, Honduras.)

Introduction: The Story 
(Explain the father’s role and the concept of the Seder and the “Direct,” “Say,” “Do” directions.  Explain the mother’s role of looking up the scripture passages while the father leads his part, and reading them to the group (be sure to name the book and chapter before reading).  Also, explain to the kids that it’s not about liking the foods we taste.  It’s about the experience of what the foods symbolize.  Sometimes a bitter taste will have a meaning to help us understand something better.)
The mother lights the candles and says a blessing before the Seder begins.   Start by reading the story of the Passover and the escape from Egypt from a children’s story bible.  
Read: During our Passover ceremony we will be having 4 symbolic cups of wine or juice.  These 4 cups correspond with a promise that God made to the Israelites when they were still slaves in Egypt in Exodus 6:6-7: “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements.  I will take you as my people, and I will be your God.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
1. The First Cup: The Cup of Sanctification
Direct: Each person fills a glass with wine or juice.
Do: Hold up your cup of wine as you talk.
Say: This is the cup of sanctification. The word sanctification means to be set apart for God. Remember God’s first promise: “I will bring you out.”  Jewish families remember that God performed miraculous deeds to free (or set apart) Israel from Egypt. We remember that Christ set us apart from the world as a holy nation to himself.  (Read 1 Peter 2:9).
Direct: Everyone drinks the first cup.
2. Washing of Hands
Do: Dip your hands in a bowl and wipe your hands on the towel.
Say: Jewish families remember how the priest washed in the basin before he could come before God on behalf of Israel (Read Exodus 30:17-21). The ritual of the washing of hands pointed to Jesus, who washes away our guilty conscience so that we can draw near to God (Read Hebrews 10:22). This symbol of cleansing also provides insight concerning the comments and reactions of the disciples when Jesus washed their feet at His Passover Seder (Read John 13:8-9).
3. Dipping of the Parsley
Do: Hold up the Parsley.
Say: The first dip of Parsley refers to the tears shed by the Israelites while they were enslaved.
Direct: everyone to dip the first sprig of parsley into the saltwater and eat it.
Say: The second dip refers to the drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea and the miraculous deliverance that came for the nation of Israel.
Direct: everyone to dip and eat the second sprig of parsley.
Do: Read Exodus 14:13-31 or the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea from a children’s bible.
Say: In the New Testament, the apostle Paul compares the crossing of the Red Sea to baptism, which symbolizes our redemption from sin (Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-2).
4. Breaking of the Middle Matzah
Do: Take the middle square from a stack of three matzah, break it in half, put one half back in the middle of the three and wrap the other half in a napkin.
Say: We use Matzah, or unleavened bread, during the Passover meal because it symbolizes how God’s people were brought out of Egypt (Read Exodus 12:39).  It also represents, for Christ-followers, that we are new creations in Christ (Read 1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
Do: Now hide the middle half of matzah as the rest of the family closes their eyes.
Do: Hold up the remaining stack of three matzahs.
Say: We can see the beautiful picture of the Trinity in the matzah — the top piece representing the Father; the bottom piece representing the Holy Spirit; and the middle piece representing Jesus, who was broken for us and then wrapped in linen to be hidden away (Read Mark 15:44-46).
5. The Four Questions and the Passover Story
Do: read the dialog called “Passover: The Four Questions” with the youngest child in the room.
Introductory Question
Child: Why is this night different from all other nights?
Leader: Once we were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but now we are free. We set aside this night each year to remember the great things God did for us.
Question 1
Child: Why, on this night, do we eat only unleaved bread?
Leader: Matzah reminds us of two things — we were delivered from slavery in Egypt, and we have a new life.
Question 2
Child: Why, on this night, do we eat only a bitter vegetable?
Leader: We remember how bitter our ancestors’ slavery was while they lived in Egypt.
Question 3
Child: Why, on this night, do we dip our vegetable twice?
Leader: We are reminded of tears and of a miraculous deliverance, as we just saw portrayed with the parsley.
Question 4
Child: Why, on this night, do we all recline?
Leader: Before, we were slaves, but now we are able to recline to express the rest we enjoy as free people. This pillow represents our freedom.
Do: hold up the lamb bone as you read Exodus 12:1-13 or thestory of the Passover from a children’s story bible.
Say: At the original Passover celebration, a lamb was killed and its blood was spread on the doorposts and lintel of the house to protect the home from the 10th plague, the slaying of the firstborn. God said He would pass over the house when He saw the blood. Each person had to eat of this sacrificial lamb — no one could eat for another person. We understand that we must each make a personal decision to spiritually apply the blood of Jesus to the doorposts of our heart so we never experience sin’s judgment (Read 1 John 1:7-8).
Say: It is significant that for His last supper, Jesus asked Peter and John to prepare the meal, which was the traditional Passover Seder, also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Preparations for the meal would have included the slaying and roasting of the lamb.  (Read Luke 22:7-8).  Later both Peter and John referred to Jesus in their writings as the Lamb of God.  Peter compared Jesus to a lamb without blemish (Read 1 Peter 1:18-19).  John wrote that the Lamb who was slain was worthy of our highest praise (Read Revelation 5:6-12).
6.The Second Cup: The Cup of Plagues
Direct: Everyone fills the cup a second time.
Do: Hold up your cup of wine as you talk.
Say: This is the cup of plagues. God poured out 10 plagues on Egypt in order to show His strength and deliver the nation of Israel.  Remember God’s second promise: “I will rescue you.”Thank God that He delivered Israel and He delivers us.
Direct:  Each person dips a spoon into his cup, then makes 10 drops of wine fall onto his plate (or white napkin) as he says the name of each plague: blood, frogs, lice, flies, cattle disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and slaying of the firstborn. Finally, each person drinks from his cup.
7. Eating of the Bitter Herbs
Direct: Everyone takes a piece of matzah, adds a small portion of horseradish and eats it.
Say: Eating bitter herbs (like horseradish) symbolizes the bitterness of slavery the nation of Israel endured in Egypt. We also remember the bitterness of our slavery to sin (Read John 8:34).
8. Eating of the Charoset
Direct: Each person enjoys a piece of matzah with a little charoset.
Do: Hold up your matzah and charoset.
Say: This mixture symbolizes the mortar that was used by the Israelites to make bricks while in Egypt. This sweet mixture represents bitter toil because even harsh labor is sweetened by the promise of redemption. We know that it was through Christ’s bitter suffering that the sweetness of redemption also came to us (Read Hebrews 2:9-10).
9. Sharing of the Charoset
Direct: Everyone takes another piece of matzah with charoset and feeds it to the person on his right, saying, “Shalom, peace to you.”
Say: When Jesus brought sweetness into our lives through His forgiveness, He never intended for us to keep it to ourselves. As we feed each other the charoset, we are showing that we want to pass this sweet message on to others (Read Matthew 28:19-20).
10. Explanation of the Egg
Do: Hold up the egg while you read the explanation below.
Say: The egg is a reminder that because the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 the Jews were no longer able to sacrifice. The egg is referred to as the Hagigah, the holiday sacrifice that was made during temple times. We are also reminded that Jesus was the final sacrifice that took away sin once and for all (Read Hebrews 10:1-18 or just Hebrews 10:8-10).
11. The Eating of the Meal
Say: At this point, a Jewish family would eat the Passover meal, including the roasted lamb.  We are going to taste a bite of lamb.
Direct: Everyone tastes a bite of the roasted lamb.
12. Finding and Eating of the Afikomen
Say: The Afikomen (“ah-fee-koe’-men”) is the piece of matzah that was hidden earlier. It’s time to play a fun game as we send all the kids on a hunt to look for the hidden matzah. Whoever finds the piece gets a token reward — a ransom is paid for the Afikomen. When found, the Afikomen is broken in pieces and distributed to everyone.
Do: Send the kids to find the Afikomen.  Give the prize to the one who finds it.  Break the Afikomen in pieces and distribute it to everyone.
Say: Jesus himself used matzah as a picture of His sacrifice when He broke the bread during the Last Supper and declaredthe traditional matzah from that point on to symbolize His body(Read Luke 22:19).
13. The Third Cup: The Cup of Redemption
Direct: Everyone fills the cup a third time.
Do: Hold up your cup of wine as you talk.
Say: This is the cup of redemption. The word redemption suggests the idea of a price being paid to bring someone out of slavery. The sacrificial lamb offered on Passover paid the price to deliver the nation of Israel from the bondage of Egypt.Remember God’s third promise: “I will redeem you.”  We know that Jesus drank this cup with His disciples, declaring it from that point on to symbolize His blood (Read Matthew 26:27-28). Drink the third cup in remembrance of Jesus.
14. Looking for Elijah
Direct: One of the children goes to the door and peeks his head out to see if Elijah is coming.
Say: Is Elijah there?
Direct: The child should reply: “No, he is not here.”
Say: Maybe next year Elijah will come!
Do: Read Malachi 4:5-6.
Say: According to the prophecy in Malachi, the Jewish people know that Elijah will prepare the way for the Messiah. When they ask if Elijah is coming, they are actually proclaiming that they are waiting for the Messiah. We recognize that John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord more than 2,000 years ago (ReadLuke 1:13-17).  Although the Jews who do not believe that Jesus is the Savior still look for Elijah when they partake of the Passover Seder, we who are Christ-followers recognize that this part of the prophecy and tradition has already been fulfilled.
15. The Fourth Cup: The Cup of Praise
Direct: Everyone fills the cup a fourth time.
Do: Hold up your cup of wine as you talk.
Say: This final cup is a reminder of God’s promise to Israel. Remember God’s fourth promise: “I will take you as my people.” The Jewish people look forward to a golden age when everyone will be at peace and will be reunited with God. In Jewish homes, it is traditional to close with the song, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” a further indication of their waiting for the  Messiah. As followers of Jesus, we, too, have been chosen by God to be His people, and we eagerly wait for the return of the Messiah so that we will be with Him forever (Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). So, with the Passover ceremony finished, let us drink the fourth cup, proclaiming, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Direct: Everyone proclaims “Come, Lord Jesus!” and drinks the fourth cup.



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