I grew up going to a non-denominational church doing communion and all that jazz, but it wasn’t until after high school that I participated in my first Passover Seder. Suffice to say it has forever deepened my understanding and appreciation of Passover, communion, and Easter. Ever since then I have encouraged my friends to join me in participating in a Seder meal, and this week I had the pleasure of hosting one in my home.
There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into it, and to my surprise there are hundreds of variations of it. Needless to say, it can get overwhelming quickly. This was my third time leading a Seder, and while I am certainly no expert at it I offer my suggestions and resources with the hope that other Christians may find it helpful for preparing their own.
For starters, I find it helpful to do some teaching/history of Passover before beginning the formal Seder. You can download my one-page overview here. It’s broken into two parts: the first Passover, and then Jesus celebrating Passover with His disciples. You can expound on this and make it into a small group study for an evening if you want to give some context to others who haven’t done a Seder before, but I prefer to do it immediately before the start of the Seder.
I like to play two clips to give us a visual framework of the two parts. The first is from Prince of Egypt when the cloud/angel of death is sweeping through the city as the final plague. Then I talk about the Last Supper and show a clip from Passion of the Christ where Jesus is being nailed to the cross, interspersed with scenes from the Last Supper. This is extremely helpful in setting the proper mood.
After that you can follow along with the Hagaddah. As I mentioned before, there are many many variations, but you can download my Hagaddah here. It is largely based on the one I did at Westgate Chapel years ago, but I have merged it with various pieces I’ve found in my studies.
The Hagaddah is written in such a way that you can read it verbatim as you go through the order, but I highly recommend that the leader familiarize himself with the text so that he can explain parts of it in his own words rather than read directly from the script.
I found this article to be helpful in understanding more about Passover and answering some relevant questions.
For the meal itself: I’ve always done it potluck style. Personally I’m not concerned about what is or is not kosher by this point. I view the meal as a separate part from the Seder (though squished in between it), and it just makes things easier for those of us who haven’t done it before.
For the main dish I served lamb. This was kind of a big deal for me considering that my definition of cooking usually means making turkey sandwiches. Nevertheless, I followed this recipe and it was perfect. Clearly illustrated and accurate.
For the Seder Plate, here’s what you’ll need to put on it: parsley, horse raddish (prepared, the hotter the better), charoset, brown/roasted egg, lamb shank (or a chicken bone will suffice), salt water dish. I would also recommend putting some pieces of matzo on the plate for guests to use to make the sandwich thing.
I hope that helps! I’ll try to keep this page updated as I learn more, so feel free to speak up with suggestions of your own.