Pillowy green grass, pollen stained shoes, cool breezes, & cloudy blue skies – that’s what comes to mind when I think of Easter. Each Spring my alma mater puts on an annual Easter Pageant portraying the life of Jesus; most importantly His crucifixion & spoiler alert: resurrection. Each of the four years I attended, you could find me at practice in the weeks leading up to the pageant as a crowds person. (& I’m serious about the grass…UMHB has some kind of magical powers to make it feel like carpet haha!) I have had the privilege of watching friends portray various roles, making the greatest & truest story ever told come to life. The tradition has given new perspective to a story I’ve know since I can remember.
Enjoy these throwback pics! We were pumped when they stopped the stage makeup #cheetoface!
Though I’ve graduated & moved, I still want to have a of posture remembrance & reverence as Easter is observed. Think about it. The whole point of celebrations is to remember. We celebrate birthdays to remember & honor the day the people we love most joined the world. We celebrate anniversaries to remember wedding days, where our love started & where it’s going. We celebrate historical events like Independence Day to remember where we came from & how we can keep pushing for better.
This year I wanted to participate in the ancient festival of Passover with a Seder meal. Judaism is not my heritage but it was Jesus’. In fact, this is a tradition that started before Jesus walked on the earth & it’s something He would have grown up participating in. Passover is the celebration of God passing over the homes of the Israelites, sparing their firstborn sons. It’s the meal Jesus & His disciples were sharing in what became the Last Supper; the night Jesus was arrested to be crucified.
I’ve been waiting to host this for a couple years now but needed the right group & my community group gals were immediately down for it when I tossed out the idea. Everyone signed up to bring an element of the meal & I started dreaming of a pallet picnic.
“On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus & asked, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ He replied, ‘Go into the city to a certain man & tell him, ‘Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate Passover with my disciples at your house.’ So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them & prepared the Passover.”Matthew 26:17-19
Can we talk about how I want to meet this guy & ask him how he knew to prepare the room?!
Probably a month ago, I dragged a wooden pallet home from work because I knew my dream of a pallet picnic would happen some day & this was the day! I think because Easter Pageant is an outdoor production I just had it in my head that this needed to be a meal shared outside. Jesus had a prepared upper room, we had a…uh…lower ground. 🤷🏼♀️😂
Our community group leader sent me a guide for hosting a traditional Passover Seder. Now again with the disclaimer that I am not Jewish…we were not as concerned with following everything to a T so I took the liberty of shortening & adding as desired & turned it into this guide.
Car loaded, I made a stop at Office Depot to print the guides, then, to Trader Joe’s for fresh flowers & I was off to the park to set up.
To make any space (indoor or outdoor) cozy & inviting – you want to appeal to all the senses.
Smell: Remember the luminaries from 4th of July last summer? Yeah, these will be a staple in every outdoor party of mine.
Sight: The quilts & pallet paired with the various heights of serving dishes & fresh greenery played on different textures. All the wood used took me to the cross & the flowers – a promise of new life in Him.
Sound: I’m a firm believer in background music. It changes a space instantly. I brought my Bluetooth speaker to play some good ‘ol worship music to keep our hearts tuned to the reason for our gathering.
Taste: The focus of this meal isn’t about savoring or satisfaction. Some of the elements are tasty (aka the lamb & charoest) but the herbs & horseradish… more about reflection on the Israelites time in slavery.
“Then he took the cup, & when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”Matthew 26:27-29
Normally my fingers are crossed for sunny weather but the cloudiness added to the somber atmosphere of the occasion.
In my personal reading I’ve been in the Old Testament so the Israelites have been fresh on my mind. At church & in community group, we’ve been looking at the life of Jesus & the miracles He performed. I have so enjoyed the pairing of old and new – throughout the Word He is the same God, pursuing His people at every corner.
After our dinner, we attended our church’s Good Friday Service & watched ‘The Passion of the Christ’ (I had only ever seen clips so it was neat to finally watch the whole movie!). Taking the time to sit in the mourning, made celebrating Sunday’s Good News of resurrection that much sweeter! Praise be to God – Jesus is risen!
If you want to learn more about the Good News I’m talking about check this out: Church of the City Easter: Faith & Doubt.
“Jesus is risen, He is alive
Look in the tomb there is hope we can find
The curse has been lifted & we are forgiven
He is alive”Jesus is Risen // Church of the City