Retaining theological links with the Old Testament is essential for a thoroughly biblical faith for the Christian. Here is a Passover service I used recently.
Hostess: Blessed are you, O king of the universe who sent your Son Jesus the Messiah, to be the light of the world and our Passover Lamb, that we might be ransomed from sin to be your people forever. [Light candles]
Reading 1: Jn 8.12
Leader: Our God is a God who saves. In the days of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, God saved the Israelites from their repression and slavery to Pharaoh with signs and wonders. He used the hard heart of Pharaoh to glorify himself before Egyptian and Israelite. Likewise, when Jesus died for the world upon the cross to save us from slavery to sin, God used the evil hearts of men like the High Priest, Herod and Judas to glorify himself in weakness.
As Israel remembered God’s saving works in the Passover meal, so Jesus retold this story in terms of his death on the cross. We therefore gather to remember that God is the God who saves.
Leader: The Psalms have been the prayer and song book of God’s people for centuries. During Passover, the Jewish people would recite the Great Hallel, Psalms 111-118 together to praise God as redeemer. Let us read Psalm 114 together.
All: Psalm 114
Song: How deep the Father’s love
Prayers for meal
Leader: Blessed are you, O king of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine. You have given us wine to gladden our hearts and to celebrate your redemption.
We drink this wine to remember that Jesus poured out his blood for our sins.
All: The cup of blessing we bless is a participation in the blood of Christ [1 Cor 10.16]
Leader: Blessed are you, O king of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth. The Israelites broke unleavened bread to remember their rescue from Egypt. Your church now remembers Christ’s death on the cross by breaking bread together in fellowship.
We are one body in Christ.
All: For we all share in the one bread.
Leader: As often as we drink of the fruit of the vine and eat of the bread of the earth together as one people of God:
All: We proclaim the Lord’s death until he returns. Come Lord Jesus.
Leader: Let us eat this meal together now in joy and gladness, remembering that Christ died to set us free from sin, to worship God and to enjoy fellowship with each other.
After the meal - Questions
Child 1: Why is this night different from other nights?
Leader: What does the bible say in Exodus 13.3-10?
Child 1: Reads passage.
Leader: On the night of the Passover, the Israelites celebrated the fact that God rescued their ancestors out of slavery from the land of Egypt. God heard the cries of their suffering and came down to rescue them. He did it so that his name might be glorified and that the people of Israel would worship him as their God.
Child 1: But what has what God did for the Jews got to do with us?
Leader: What does it say in Romans 11.25-32.
Child 2: Reads passage.
Child 1: So what does this mean?
Leader: It means that God still loves Jews as much as those he loves us who are Christians who are not Jews. It means that we believe that God makes promises that he does not break, even when we do.
Child 2: But I still don’t see what the Passover has to do with Christians.
Leader: Read Matthew 26.17-19, 26-30
Child 2: Reads passage
Leader: The first Passover lambs were killed and the Israelite doorposts smeared with the blood so that the Angel would pass over their houses. Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, but told them that he was the Passover lamb whose blood was shed so that God would pass over their sins and ours.
Just as God could save Israel with blood, so he saves all who turn to him and call Jesus Lord and Saviour through his death on the cross. And, just as the Jews were to gather once a year to celebrate what God done for them in the Passover meal, so we gather too to remember what Christ has done for us.
Child 1: Isn’t that what we do at communion each week?
Leader: Yes it is. However, in the early church, what we call communion or the Lord’s Supper was part of full meal. All of what we do together tonight means that same thing, but we can also share our life together as God’s people over this meal. Who you eat with says a lot about what you believe. Eating this meal together says we believe we are God’s people, and that is more important than the things that are different; where we were born, whom we vote for or even which footy team we barrack for!
Child 2: Can we have dessert now?
Leader: Yes we can. Peace be with you.
All: And also with you.
All: O Sacred Head Sore Wounded
All: Psalm 118
Leader: Go in peace this night, to love and serve the Lord until he returns, or until he takes us home.
All: In the name of Christ, our Passover lamb. Amen.