My family has a new tradition!!
As Messianic Jews, we celebrate Passover every year, and not Easter. The traditional Passover seder includes several elements that represent Yeshua (not that that’s the traditional explanation, but it’s hard to imagine what else the afikomen is meant to represent), and several years ago my family expanded the end of the seder (the Cup of Redemption, the Afikomen, and the Cup of Praise) to include the account of Yeshua’s death and resurrection from the New Covenant.
A few months ago, my mother mentioned to me that it would be nice to do something on the third day to celebrate Yeshua’s resurrection, and she suggested that I turn the idea over in my head and see if anything occurred to me. So I did, off and on.
It seemed to me that Yeshua’s death marked victory over sin and our justification, but His resurrection marked victory over death. So I wanted something that would emphasize that. None of the Jewish traditions I’m familiar with seemed to fit the purpose, and the Christian Easter traditions are mostly centered around symbols of fertility and new life borrowed from pagan spring festivals. I have no problem with swiping other traditions when it seems appropriate, but victory over death isn’t quite the same as fertility, so it felt a bit off.
So I poked around a bit on the internet, reading about springtime festivals in other cultures. A lot of them have a big bonfire around now, for fertility or cleansing or to bring back the sun. Or just because bonfires are awesome and it feels right to our hearts to have one every so often.
So tonight we showed up at my parents’ house after dinner (well, after our dinner anyway – they hadn’t eaten yet, as none of them are four). I brought dessert in a fireproof dish (a tiny Le Creuset dutch oven, which was a wedding gift from my grandfather and his wife) and wrapped it in flash paper. I had my sister and my mother read two passages: first Ecclesiastes 9:1-6, which is as nihilist a passage as you’ll find in the Bible, and then 1 Corinthians 15:53-56, which celebrates Yeshua’s victory over death. Then I lit the flash paper (which burned beautifully, and completely freaked out the baby) and we discovered that death had not triumphed and we could eat the dessert inside.
It was simple and it said all it needed to and it involved fire and ended with yummy dessert. What more could you need?
(If you are doing this, please do remember that flash paper is designed for indoors but isn’t actually safe. We had the paper-wrapped dish sitting in a glass pie pan, with a big sheet of aluminum foil underneath.)
The dessert was Eton Mess, made with store-bought meringues, homemade whipped cream, and frozen raspberries (microwaved for a couple minutes with a spoonful of brown sugar, to make a thick sauce) since strawberries aren’t in season yet. It was even kosher for Passover.
I can think of ways to expand it – but I think this probably works better when kept simple. So we will.