Celebrating Deliverance – ICEJ USA Brings Passover Seders to the Christian Community
Last month, Jewish families worldwide gathered around their tables to observe a special Passover meal—the Seder—an annual tradition for close to 3,500 years. During this special time of Passover, they remember God’s great deliverance and their journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the land of promise.
The Passover meal is historically part of the weeklong Feast of Unleavened Bread and consists of wine, matza (unleavened bread), bitter herbs, and lamb. The gospels describe Jesus’ last supper with His disciples as a Passover meal when He used the unleavened bread and wine to describe His approaching death on the cross.
Many Christians have never participated in a Seder and experienced the rich tradition that makes for not just a fun evening but one full of instruction, prayer, and celebration. This year, ICEJ USA staff held a series of Seder dinners, teaching times, and other Passover-related events to introduce this meaningful tradition to Christians around the country—from Florida to California, New Jersey to Texas, and many locations in between.
One of these Passover celebrations, led by Rev. Malcolm Hedding and hosted by ICEJ USA’s Bram and Liesl Maas, drew more than 150 people to World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Attendees celebrated the events that took place in Egypt and then later in Jerusalem as Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples before dying on the cross. The presence of God was tangible, made evident by the joy that filled the meeting, and the blessing even the children experienced. At the end of the evening, participants expressed gratitude and blessed our hardworking ICEJ staff who made the night a success, along with all our servers, catering team, and volunteers. It was a night to remember.
In Florida, Linda Giljam hosted a Seder for 20 women in partnership with a women’s ministry called Epic Beauty. As ICEJ USA Director Susan Michael led the Seder, the ladies relived the deliverance of the ancient Israelites from bondage and then recounted ways that they had each experienced deliverance in their own lives. Going forth from this seder experience, attendees then went out to minister to women caught up in the night life in their county. It was a truly unique and powerful evening of preparation for ministering the message of freedom and deliverance to those who needed it most.
ICEJ USA Local Liaisons Bill and Sandra Callahan hosted a Seder dinner in their home in West Palm Beach, FL, with about 40 attendees. The presence of about 15 teenagers—some about to graduate and start college—made this a unique evening. Susan Michael’s teaching captivated them and brought greater understanding of the Jewish roots of their own faith and the biblical significance of Israel.
Pleasant Valley Church in Niles, Ohio, hosted a Seder meal for 120 guests from the church and community, led by ICEJ USA Deputy Director Daryl Hedding and USA Development Director Bram Maas. Most of the guests had never experienced a Passover meal before, and many remarked that they were surprised by the meaningful explanations of the different elements, the deeper understanding gained in the connection to Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples, and the centrality of Christ throughout the celebration.
We invite you and your family to make the Passover Seder (and every feast of the Lord) part of your annual celebration of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.