Saturday, April 11, 2009
Saturday, 11 March '09: Holy Thursday Seder Meal
" I just had a look at your blog and the picture is rather old!" emailed my friend, Lydia from Australia.
Oophs! My excuse is that this past week has been a short one in South Africa. South Africans still have a long Easter week:Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. And I was busy all week with the preparations for the traditional Holy Thursday Seder meal held annually at Thatchwick. This year the guest list, like Topsy, grew and grew ending with sixteen friends. So furniture had to be moved and tables joined so that we could all sit down to a three course dinner: chicken soup and matzos dumplings; roast lamb and trimmings; sweet Greek desserts of custard, nuts and honey. Above is our lovely Seder plate.
Isabella, the youngest guest, asked the question: "Why is this night different fron all other nights?" At that special moment, a little prompting was needed from brother Daniel. I wrote a special liturgy for our meal in which everyone had a part: a scripture, a prayer, a blessing. Together we remembered the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt; the last Passover which Jesus ate with his disciples on the night He was betrayed; His passion and resurrection. Suddenly everyone had another metaphor or symbols linked to this ancient Jewish meal, which they wanted to share.
Unfortunately I only had time for a photo of the table before the guests arrived. The intention to take loads of shots was lost amidst the scurrying around serving.
At midpoint in our meal, we broke bread together as a Christian fellowship. The three children were entranced by the solemnity of the moment as we passed the cup around the table and broke pieces from the Kifka loaf.
The Easter lights were lit at the beginning of the meal. The Holy Thursday meal is a special event at Thatchwick and each year the guests leave touched and transformed by this little ritual. On Good Friday I was on duty at church. We are currently holding an Easter conference and the church was overflowing with about 2 000 people of every cultural background you can imagine. My friends who attend other congregations also reported a bumper turnout for the Good Friday morning service. Leone commented, "I had couldn't get parking at church this morning. I had to drive round and round the block to find a spot!"