We gathered in the comfort of Mother Barbara’s home, after enjoying each other’s company over dinner, to settle into a conversation about the deep connections between the Seder (the Passover meal) and the Holy Eucharist.
We learned about and wrestled with the following concepts that can connect there two meals:
- The Paschal Mystery –the rising from death into new life — how this was connected to the original Passover meal (liberation of a particular people from a particular situation in a particular land to a particular “promised land”) to the resurrection of Jesus (the liberation of all of humankind from all oppression). The paschal mystery comes together in the Easter Eve Vigil, when we move from darkness into light.
- Ananmesis- both meals are not a re-enactment, nor merely a remembrance of a special event, but a bringing of the past event into the present moment, entering into the event in a mystical way. We discussed how this shows up in our liturgy when we state: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. We understand Christ IS risen, not has risen. The risen Christ is here among us when we celebrate the Eucharist.
- The importance of the bread in each of these meals as the predominant feature and the understanding that was developing in the time of Jesus’ life that when the Messiah arrived, he would break the unleavened bread at the Passover meal, so when Jesus broke the bread and said, “This is my body” people who were gathered would have understand this to be an indication that Jesus was the messiah.
We then traced the development of the passover meal through the time of the ancient Israelites until Jesus’ time and then the development of the Eucharist through the early church. One thing that delighted us was that we learned in the early church, the pattern for the Eucharist was very much like our pattern of gathering on Wednesday evenings– eating a full meal, conversation, exploration of scripture, prayer, and a sense of communion.
To view the power point presentation offered that evening, please click here. Seder to Holy Communion final