Geranium Farm Home         Who's Who on the Farm         The Almost Daily eMo         Subscriptions         Coming Events
Hodgepodge         More or Less Church         Ways of the World         A Few Good Writers
Gifts For Life         Pennies From Heaven         Light a Prayer Candle         Links

March 31, 2015
Tell an Anglican liturgist you're doing a Seder at your church during Holy Week and he may react as if you'd said you were planning a human sacrifice. He will tell you that churches should NEVER do these things, that it is by no means certain that the Last Supper was a Seder, that it is criminally tone-deaf, after centuries of violent Christian anti-Semitism, now to co-opt the central feast of Jewish observance, pretending that Moses and all the prophets were bit players in a drama whose real star was Jesus.


But I have several intermarried couples in my parish, and the Jewish partners -- who probably don't need me to instruct them about anti-Semitism -- look forward to sharing this meal and teaching about it, to singing the sings they learned as children. They know Hebrew and most of us don't. They have childhood memories of this ancient feast and we do not. Their Jewishness is not a quaint backdrop for our Christianity: it is alive within them. It is half of the heritage their children carry forward. They have married into Christmas trees and Easter bunnies, attended their children's choir performances, listened quietly as the congregation melts over an angelic treble "Pie Jesu." It is time for them to share with us, and it is time for their children to see the two faiths meet and kiss.

The belief that intermarried Jews don't care about their heritage is a mistaken one. It is hard to be a mixed couple. Before there are children, there are in-laws, and the negotiation the new pair must conduct is sensitive and often deeply painful. This is often true even if the Jewish partner's family is not particularly observant -- Why, someone asks, if they don't even go to temple? Why should they care? Why? It might have something to do with the fact that nobody ever rounded up six million Episcopalians and put them to death. Why? Because antiSemitism is not in the past; like all bigotry, it lurks everywhere in the here and now.

What's the Seder about? It's not about the Jews waiting for a messiah they were too dim to recognize when he came. Messianic hope had yet to be born in Judaism when the Passover was established; it was a thousand years away. Like all Jewish feasts, the Seder is about a deliverance that happens again and again in history, a deliverance longed for from age to age and celebrated with an utterly human joy when it comes.

Or as the Jews put it, arguing vigorously over who gets credit for originating this epigram: "They tried to kill us.They failed. Let's eat."
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
  2016     2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010     2009     2008     2007     2006     2005     2004     2003  
  2016     2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010     2009     2008     2007     2006     2005     2004     2003  

Copyright © 2003-2018 Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.

2003-2004 Golden Web Awards Winner     2003-2004 Level 2 Diamond Web Award Winner Humanitarian Award Winner     2004 WebAward Winner for Standard of Excellence