We were delighted when we realised that Roger’s visit coincided with the Passover. David and I have decided to commemorate the Jewish Passover meal each year, establishing it as a family tradition. At this time of year, we remember Israel’s flight from Egypt, the first “Last Supper” that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night before his death and the significance of the Passover elements that show Jesus is the Messiah, come to save the whole world.

As Roger was part of the Worldwide Church of God for 35 years. WCG members celebrated the Passover together, and so Roger brought experience and insight to the ceremonial meal.

Late in the afternoon I received a phone call from the Rattenburys, letting me know that they were also coming down to join us for the feast. So all of a sudden, our planned intimate meal became a larger affair.

(It’s an established Fisher family tradition to host more than one party of guests at a time. We’ve got the room in our house, and our motto is “the more, the merrier”, so feel free to come for a visit anytime!)

When Nigel, Melinda and their three kids arrived, David took all of the kids outside to play while we finished our Passover preparations. The kids love riding on the gyrocars in our driveway, hooning around the house and down the hill into the shed.

Melinda, April 2010
In the kitchen, Melinda made the Matzoh from flour, water and salt.

I took some of the recipes for tonight from a children’s storybook titled Pearl’s Passover which features (bizarrely) an anthropomorphised family of sheep and lambs celebrating a traditional Jewish Passover. After checking outa whole stack of books from the library, this was the one that was most helpful in showing me how to integrate the Passover celebration into our lives.

K, Delaney, 3 months old, + Roger, April 2010
While we were preparing the meal, Delaney's bevy of admirers looked after her.

Because the night was getting on, we fed the children first and then let them play around us. We also started eating the main meal while we worked our way through the order of service for the Passover, called a Haggadah. I used a Messianic Passover Haggadah provided by a dear friend in West Africa. For future years, this will serve as a basis for an order of service that we will modify and personalise to suit our family.

Passover, April 2010
I arranged the traditional foods on our Seder plate: egg, lamb bone, bitter herbs, haroset, parsley and radish.

Instead of ridding our house of all leaven (yeast) in preparation of the Passover, we hid some slices of bread for the children to find. When they each found their slice, David made a fire in the fireplace, and the kids threw the bread in. This represented the way that God deals with the sin in our lives.

Another important part of our Passover feast was recognising and remembering what Jesus did when he was partaking of the Passover as his last meal before he died. When a piece of the bread (the Matzoh) is folded over some Haroset, the Jewish tradition states that each person feeds it to the person most beloved of the giver. It’s obvious that I would give my portion to David.

When Jesus participated in this meal, at this point he gave his portion to Judas, demonstrating great love for Judas despite knowing what Judas was planning:

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

With all the cups that we drank (and custom dictates that each cup is filled up fully and drunk completely), we’re glad we chose to use non-alcoholic wine for the celebration. At the end of the meal, the Jews traditionally exclaim, “Next year in Jerusalem!” David and I proclaimed in hope: “Next year in New Zealand!” believing and hoping that God will establish us there before the next Passover.

Nivel, Roger, Mel + Lauren, April 2010
We finished our feast with a peach melba dessert: meringue, peaches, vanilla icecream and raspberry sauce drizzled on top.

Afterwards all the kids went outside to play with sparklers, and they soon spotted a little snake making its way down a tree. Nigel grabbed its tail and identified it as a (harmless) carpet python. (I think he should have identified it before he grabbed it — but, hey, maybe I’m just nit-picking.)

Snake, April 2010
All the kids were able to have a good look at the snake while Nigel held it.

David found a jar and brought it inside so we could all have a better look.

Roger, April 2010
Bushman Roger was the only one certain enough of his snake-identifying skills to handle it with ease.

After relocating the snake further away from the house, we lit some more sparklers and enjoyed our time outside in the warm evening air.

Z, April 2010

It was wonderful to spend this time with Roger and our friends. We’re still working out how and what to teach our kids about Passover and Easter, but celebrating the Lord’s Supper (communion) in this way gives extra meaning to a Biblically-mandated tradition that we should keep as believers.