Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

Seder Plate used in our Passover Celebrations

It’s funny the things that will hit you unexpectedly. 

Our plans to attend high school graduations of family have been cancelled because there will be no public graduations this year.

Our annual week at the lake in North Carolina… a week to be with family and friends and eat homemade pie and have sing-alongs, keeping the tradition of going to Butts on the Creek just because we always do it with this group of friends….cancelled.

But it was hearing those words from a Rabbi on the morning news that made the weight of these broken traditions heavy:

Why is this night different from all other nights?

We participated in our first Seder in the early 90’s. It was held at our church and led by a Messianic Rabbi. When Henry and I became ministers we made this part of our Holy Week traditions. We were often the first to introduce this celebration that was thought to have been similar to the Passover Jesus observed.

The older congregation appreciated the history of it as the women heartily took on roles of preparing the required foods of parsley, horseradish, boiled eggs, charoset, salt water, grape juice and matzo for every table.

One of the years our granddaughter read the four questions asked by the youngest child

In places where we also had a large group of youth, year after year they remembered the bitter taste of the parsley and salt water and the “odd” foods that were part of it and asked “Are we going to eat the weird foods again?”

And, they remember the empty seat at the table set for Elijah as each year we called for him only to say, maybe next year he’ll come.

I know about grief associated with loss. I feel I’m a pro on this subject as I recognize loss that goes beyond death. I’ve written about that grief often.

News reports and the medical community have alerted us we may experience this as we go through the weeks of uncertainty and stumble through new routines.  Yet this grief hadn’t really hit until today when I realized we’d be celebrating the Seder with our group of people. 

Our congregations changed over the years from older to young to men with substance abuse issues living in residential program. They were, perhaps, the most curious about this Seder. Their questions were good and their understanding more than I often had.

I’m mourning the loss of sharing this life of Christ with them. Holy week was special as we planned different ways for them to go deeper in experiencing a life with Jesus. It wasn’t about sermons but tasting the foods, sitting at the cross, contemplating our failures, recognizing His sacrifice, accepting His forgiveness, and celebrating his resurrection for us!

There will be new ways discovered to share our celebrations. Maybe these will become our new traditions?

But for now, let me miss the familiar. Let me linger in the warmth that’s still felt from sharing these times with others. Let me mourn the loss of what was as we move in to what can be.

We’ll celebrate, in new way, his resurrection this Easter Sunday as we hope for Elijah to announce He is coming again.

2 thoughts on “Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

  1. Let me mourn the loss of what was as we move in to what can be. Profound words for such a time as this. We are moving the end of this month to another state unless the close being able to go from state to state. I have been grieving a little, starting over means loss from something one left and we leave good friends, church , our son and his family, wonderful weather in southern Ca. this is my 32 move, and I can say it has not got easier but move must be done. So I am thankful that I am grieving, it means we made connections here that count, they are worth grieving. Good post.

    1. I know the life of moving and the emotions that come with it. How wise you know to be thankful for the grief you’re experiencing because it means you have loved well. May God go ahead of you and continue guiding you and your family. And may you be filled with joy and hope renewed this Resurrection Sunday. xx

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