Tag Archives: Easter

Resources for Celebrating Passover and Easter

As we observe Passover this week, much of the world is sheltered in their homes, trying to stay safe until this deadly virus will PASS OVER. It reminds us that Christ-followers are sheltered in Jesus Christ, safely protected as spiritual death (separation from God) will PASS OVER us.

How thankful we are for Jesus! Not only did He die for us, but He was resurrected to life again. If we accept the death of Christ on our behalf, then we can receive from Him the forever Life that He offers to us. We have much to celebrate!

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It has been a rich blessing in my family to celebrate Passover and Resurrection Sunday each year.  I hope that you will enjoy this special joy, too!

If you have children in your home, be sure to make Resurrection Cookies! My daughter Valorie explains how to do that in this short video. Each step in the recipe teaches something about the Easter story.

Below are some simple ways to celebrate Passover with preschoolers, children, or adults. (Much of this material comes from Simple Celebrations.) Also, at the end of this post, you will find short meditations to strengthen your marriage (or other relationships) each day of Holy Week.

Celebrating Passover

What it is:

Passover is a rich, multilayered celebration. On the first Passover,  the blood from a flawless lamb protected God’s people from death.

Fifteen hundred years later, the symbols of the Passover supper became reality as  the flawless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, shed His blood on a cross to rescue us from spiritual death . And today,  every follower of Christ can experience a personal Passover, as we are rescued from spiritual slavery to enjoy friendship with God.

Passover celebrates the fact that spiritual death passes over us, not touching us, as we commit to following Christ as Lord.

How to prepare:

  1. Set a festive, colorful table. You may want to include two long taper candles.
  2. Set a glass of grape juice at each place.
  3. Place the following on each plate:
    • a parsley stalk
    • a piece of onion, or a bite of horseradish
    • a small serving of haroset (Combine applesauce, walnuts, and cinnamon—or use chunky applesauce, if your group has a nut allergy. The idea is create something that resembles mortar and that reminds us of the bricks which the Hebrew slaves were ordered to make.)
    • a small bowl of salt water (It is not necessary for each person to have a bowl if people can share.)
    • a piece of matzoh or a plain cracker
    • a bite of cooked lamb
  4. If you are using a Haggadah (a program) with your group, make a copy for each person, and put a copy at each place. Click here for a PDF of a Christian Passover program.

You will need someone to be the leader, who will read most of the program. You may assign the shorter sections to others in your group–however you like. There are 23 reading sections. (Blank lines are provided so that you can write in the reader’s name at each numbered section.) The leader reads each section that is not otherwise assigned.

How to celebrate with preschoolers:

I like to begin by saying this: “I know that you have eaten a meal before. And I know that you have listened to a story before. But today, we are going to EAT A STORY!”

In a way appropriate for your children, tell the story of the Exodus. When you talk about making bricks, eat the haroset, which reminds us of the mortar used in building.

As you tell about the suffering of the slaves, dip the parsley into the salt water, and then have the children taste or eat it. Explain that this reminds us of tears because the Hebrew people were very sad.

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Have the children eat (or simply smell) the green onion, explaining that this, too, reminds us that the Hebrew slaves were sad because of the cruel things that Pharaoh did to them. Explain that we also are sad if we don’t know God and if we don’t know that He loves us.

Explain that God sent Moses to rescue the Hebrew slaves. Moses told the people what to do, and God helped them to escape from Pharaoh.

Let the children taste the lamb. Explain that everyone who belonged to God had a Passover lamb, and God took good care of everyone with a Passover lamb because they were His people.  We belong to God, and we have a Passover Lamb, too, because Jesus is like a Passover Lamb for us. God takes good care of us because we belong to Him.

Show the children the “flat bread,” the matzoh. Explain that when God rescued the Hebrew slaves, they had to leave Egypt so quickly that they could not wait for their bread to rise. They had to eat flat bread. As the children eat the matzoh, express gratitude to God for helping us because He loves us.

Explain that grape juice reminds us that God loves us so much that He would die for us! Say, “This juice is red (or purple), just like a valentine. This juice is like a valentine from God because it reminds us that God loves us very much.”

Conclude with a short prayer, thanking God that He loves us very much, that we can belong to Him, and that He helps us because He loves us.

How to celebrate with children:

Here is a new script that works well with children. It takes 20-30 minutes, but it can easily be adapted for a shorter celebration, too.

Celebrating Easter

In Marriage

As we reflect on the Scriptures concerning the death and resurrection of Christ, we can learn valuable truths for our marriages. Here are daily devotions with practical applications for each day of Holy Week:

One more resource for your marriage: “The Power of a Torn Veil.” Jesus Christ invites us into a new covenant, a relationship based on giving instead of earning. In our marriages, it is easy to revert to old-covenant thinking (“you owe me!”), but it is healing and life-giving to fill our marriages with the grace of new-covenant thinking.

Joyous celebrations to you!
Tami

Celebrating Easter in Your Marriage, part 2

Last week, I shared with you several themes from the Holy Week of Christ that we can apply to our marriages. We looked at Palm Sunday through Wednesday last time, so today we will consider Thursday through Easter Sunday.  May this be a Holy Week in each of our homes.

Thursday: themes of servanthood and covenant vows

Easter: 011-jesus-washes-feetAt the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. This was an act of humility and of service. Afterwards, He explained that He had come to serve and that true greatness belongs to the greatest servants.

A little later, He offered the disciples a Passover cup and said, “Drink from it …. It is My blood of the covenant.” This action reflected a tradition from the Hebrew betrothal ceremony. When proposing marriage, a man would pour a cup of wine and then offer it to the woman whom he hoped to marry. If she accepted the cup and drank from it, she was agreeing to become the man’s covenant partner.

Easter: 009-last-supperEvery time we drink from the communion cups at our churches, we are doing much more than remembering that Christ died for us; we are actually renewing our covenant commitment to Him. We are agreeing to share His cup, to share His suffering, to share His life with Him. No wonder the apostle Paul tells us that we should not take communion carelessly! It is a renewal of our covenant vows to belong entirely to Christ.

Prayer: LORD, thank You for pouring out lavish love to me. Thank You, Almighty Creator and Ruler of the Universe, for humbling Yourself to wear human flesh and to suffer unimaginable agony so that I could enjoy a personal relationship with You. Thank You for serving me and for being my Covenant Partner.

LORD, I want Your ways of humility, service, and commitment to fill my marriage. Pour out Your Spirit into my marriage through me. Help me to put more importance, significance, and attention on my spouse than on myself (Philippians 2:3).

Help me to be willing to suffer, as Your wisdom directs, for the sake of my spouse, my covenant partner. Make me alert and sensitive to the needs that You are calling me to serve. Before You, I renew my commitment to my spouse.

Action: This Easter, how is God asking me to serve my covenant partner? Where do I need to take off pride and put on humility (just as Christ took off His outer garment and put on a towel)? How can I renew my vows to my spouse—that is, how can I express my renewed commitment to him or her?

Friday: theme of destroyed barriers Easter: 013-jesus-dies

Friday was the day that Christ was crucified at the Place of the Skull. There are many things that we can learn from that day, but what I would like to highlight now is something that happened in the Temple when Christ died.

An incredible thing happened: the thick veil that had hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was torn in two, from top to bottom. This symbolized God’s move to destroy the spiritual barrier that had separated sinful people from Himself. Although we had been the ones to wrong Him, He took the initiative to reconcile. At great cost to Himself, through His own broken body, God opened a path for restored relationship.

When God broke the barrier, this explosively powerful action in the spiritual realm was again reflected in the physical realm: “The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” (Matthew 27:51-52, NIV)

Prayer: LORD, thank You for tearing the veil so that I could experience a covenant relationship with You. Thank You for being willing to tear Your own flesh so that I could know healing and wholeness.

Please destroy the barriers, whether small or great, between my spouse and myself. Please bring healing and wholeness to my marriage. Help me to be willing to take action, even at cost to my own comfort or preferences, as You direct me by Your Spirit.

Action: This Easter, how can I “tear a veil”—that is, how can I take action to destroy a barrier in my marriage?

Saturday: theme of trusting when we don’t understand

Easter: 017-jesus-diesOn Saturday, the heartbroken disciples must have struggled with fear, guilt, huge disappointment, and probably even despair. They had expected Jesus to conquer the Romans and to provide political salvation to the Jewish people, and they had expected to be key players in that exhilarating action. Instead, Jesus had been crucified by the Romans, and the disciples had played the part of fleeing cowards.

However, God was conquering in greater ways than they had imagined! God was preparing a glory for each Christ-follower that was far beyond their grandest hopes. Despite the horrors of the physical realm, God’s plan was right on course in the spiritual realm. What appeared to be utter defeat in the physical and temporal realm was actually a more-than-conquering victory in the spiritual and eternal realm.

Prayer: LORD, thank You for Your marvelous plans for goodness and glory and intimacy and health and joy. Thank You for being a trustworthy God. I praise You for Your power to orchestrate every detail, seen or unseen. Thank You for keeping every precious promise. Thank You for being far more generous to me than I can even imagine. Thank You for redeeming the works of the darkness.

Help me to trust Your unseen work in my marriage, as I yield to You. Help me not to lean on my own understanding, but to lean on Your promises. Reassure my fearful heart that, even though Saturday is dark today, the glorious Light of Sunday is preparing to spring forth.

Action: As I think about my marriage this Easter, am I trusting my physical eyes instead of using spiritual eyes? Where am I doubting the goodness of God? How am I disappointed with God in my marriage? How can I trust that His plans are greater than mine? How can I cling to the promises of God instead of to my pain?

Easter Sunday: theme of opened eyes

On Resurrection Sunday, several followers of Christ failed to recognize Him. They were focused on their pain and disappointment. They were aware of their own failed plans, and they did not comprehend His far greater, successful plans. But the Spirit opened their eyes to see God’s awesome work. When they saw what God had done, there was no regret or disappointment. They were overjoyed!

Easter: 016-jesus-alivePrayer: LORD, please open my eyes to You as You work in my marriage. Thank You for being the God who raises the dead to life. I praise You for being a God who delights in making things new and beautiful. I ask you to bring to life what has been dead in my marriage. Make our spirits and our relationship new and beautiful, full of Your truth and Your life. Thank You for being a God of Resurrection Power. I lay my marriage before You, asking You to release that Power in my home., and I rejoice that You are working actively and forcefully for my good and Your glory. I am overjoyed that You are my Living God, and I rejoice in the Abundant Life that You pour into me.

Action: In my marriage, how can I, like Mary, lift my eyes to see Christ before me? How do I need to quiet my spirit so that I hear His voice of instruction to me? How can I, like the believers in Emmaus, receive the Spirit’s gift of “opened eyes” so that I can recognize God in the midst of my marriage?

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Rejoicing with you in our Living God, who still works miracles of resurrection,
Tami

Easter: 009-jesus-alive