Tonight- this being April 9, 2009- President Obama will for the first time

Host and observe a Passover Seder at the White House. If you don’t know anything about it, here’s a link. cresourcei.org/haggadah.html
And if you ever want to actually put one together…:slight_smile: crivoice.org/seder.html

The Passover Seder is a Jewish tradition observed on the first two nights of Passover (at least it was- now it’s often a one-night deal), and the one at the White House will be a second-night Seder. Over the last few decades, Christian adaptations of this tradition have become more popular. I got to participate in one yesterday. It was pretty cool to see how the symbolic tradition pointed the way to the Messiah, Jesus.

There are four cups, each symbolizing a different expression of deliverance. The Seder plate has six symbolic foods, and the seventh- the stack of three matzot- is separate. It is not very hard to adapt the stack of three matzot to the idea of the Trinity, nor is it very difficult to see the symbolism of the total lack of leaven, representing sin. The Seder I participated in was adapted to Christianity and initiated/partially organized by Messianic Jews who are friends of mine, so I had the chance to see how all of the symbolism tied together.

It made me think about the symbolism of the Passover leading up to the Last Supper a lot more than I ever had before. For example, the Maror and Chazeret- two bitter herbs- are dipped in a little bit of saltwater and eaten. The saltwater symbolizes the tears of the Jews enslaved in Egypt, and the bitter herbs represent the hyssop- another bitter herb- that was used to smear the blood of a lamb across the doorframe the night of Passover. This blood, in turn, prefigures the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. Representations wrapped in symbols enfolded in meaning presented in tradition…It’s a paschal turducken! And it all came together in Jesus Christ. Participating in this let me see a lot more of how Christianity grew out of Judaism.

As a Protestant, my perspective obviously differs a little from that of Catholics. From my perspective, I’m thinking about all the symbolism that led up to Jesus’ perfect sacrifice- the passover lambs, all the sin offerings through the centuries, the unleavened bread and so much else that prefigured Jesus- and I’m thinking about how Jesus was the actual realization and completion of all this. At this point, we continue it by doing “post-figuring,” if you will, in the Eucharist. But instead of looking forward to Jesus’ sacrifice, we look back in remembrance of it. It all kind of came together- the matzot and the wine/grape juice is Jesus’ body and blood and has been ever since the Seder began, just as the Passover lambs and other sin offerings were Jesus’ body and blood. The big thing that I never realized was how unleavened bread (representing sinlessness) and wine had been used for over a thousand years to prefigure the salvation and freedom of mankind- and Jesus (or Yeshua, the masculine form of the Hebrew word meaning “salvation”) took those symbolic elements (among many other symbolic elements) just before His crucifixion and said “This is me.” I’m sure Catholics have a much different take on that, but at least that gives you a look into the mind of a Protestant.

I guess I always knew Jesus was celebrating Passover with his disciples during Passion Week leading up to His death on the Cross. I just never knew exactly what that looked like. I don’t know if I’ll ever do this again, but I’m glad I did it once, just so I can better understand the link between Judaism and Jesus. And, of course, so I can better understand what Jesus and His disciples were doing in the days before the crucifixion and resurrection.

So if you didn’t know what a Passover Seder was, now you know (if you followed the link, that is). And if you ever have the chance to participate in one, I’d encourage you to do it at least once. Oh, and in case you wanted to know, Obama is having the first one ever hosted at the White House later today. If anyone has any thoughts, opinions, or additional information on the White House Seder, please feel free to post it here. At this point, the only other thing I know is this: A year ago, Obama and his campaign staff had an impromptu Seder in the basement of a hotel at this time during the primaries. At the end, just after the closing phrase “Next year in Jerusalem,” Obama added “Next year in the White House.” And true to his word, he is doing just that. (I didn’t vote for him in the general election, but I still like the story). Also, let me know if any of you have experienced something similar and what you thought of it. I’m curious to know how many people are at all familiar with this, because I didn’t really know anything about it until it was introduced to me. And I’m glad it was, so now I hope I can pass the info on to a few more people.

Very interesting, mmmcounts. Thank you very much. :slight_smile:
If I could ask though: is Obama Jewish or did he just do this out of whim?

I’m surprised that this is the very first time it’s been done in the White House. This is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs, so this is good that it’s done now.

Your point of view isn’t exactly a Protestant one. Christianity is the continuation of Judaism so the Passover Seder is connected to Jesus, the Messiah.

If you want to attend a great Christian adaptation of the Seder that’s not just in remembrance, go to a Catholic Mass. :smiley:

mmmcounts,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience at the Passover seder. You brought back fond memories of the few seders I had the opportunity to attend when I was a Protestant.

I don’t think anything in your post contradicts anything the Catholic Church has been teaching for 2000 years. The Passover sacrifice indeed prefigures Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross as the lamb who was slain, as well as the Mass and the Holy Eucharist. I had never studied the Passover from that angle until I became Catholic. I’m so glad you had the opportunity.

Happy and blessed Easter.

Mrs. Mac

Hey, my pleasure. Thank you guys.

If I could ask though: is Obama Jewish or did he just do this out of whim?

No, he’s definitely not Jewish…or Muslim, for that matter :slight_smile:
I can’t remember what church he went to growing up- mostly in Hawai’i- but I think I remember it being Protestant. (That’s not at all specific, though. I can’t remember how conservative his background was). Once he grew up, he was (as far as I can tell) kind of a nominal attendee of Reverend Wright’s church, though he seemed to have a great personal relationship with the man. Black Protestant churches are a whole different scenario when compared to white Protestant churches- not any less a part of Christ’s church, but still very different. I guess the main difference is in their origins- black Protestant churches do not trace their roots back to a split from Catholicism, so that’s pretty huge. Social justice is a much bigger deal (and rightly so) though racial extremism can get a little out of hand, depending on the pastor (as we have seen). Because of those differences (which I don’t think are divisions), I’m not necessarily any more familiar with Obama’s church experience as an adult than you are. All that being said, he’s not Jewish.

All of this started last year during the primaries. It was a tight race between Obama and Hillary, and from what I’ve seen in the news, there was a “small impromptu” gathering in the basement of the hotel his people were staying at. Since Obama isn’t Jewish, I am assuming (basically guessing) that he wasn’t the one who initiated this. My guess (and this is only a guess) is that a few of his campaign people were Jews, they were planning on having a small traditional thing while they were there, and at kind of the last minute they decided it would be pretty cool if more people participated. I am guessing that Obama went along with this and liked it enough that he committed to setting one up at the White House in the event that he won the election. That’s the best I can piece it together, but some of the assumptions may be a little off.

I don’t know this for sure, but I am under the impression that the Passover Seder that Obama is participating in is a straight-up Jewish tradition without any Christian adaptations. The ones most Christians go to have those adaptations, and the main goal is to fill in some of the backstory and understand Jesus better in a variety of ways. I felt extremely blessed by what I experienced, but I don’t think that’s quite what Obama is going for. From what I understand, this is more of a “building bridges” and inclusiveness kind of thing, and even though I’m sure he got a lot out of it, the main purpose of this has more to do with stepping into Judaism (for the duration of the Seder), and less to do with…well, with Jesus. Over the weekend, I’m sure, the Obama family will step right back into the Christian side of things.and probably do some talking about how enriching the Seder was. There is a lot to that, though, and there’s not much downside with a whole lot of upside when building bridges like that between Jews and Christians.

**JPUSC-**I’m surprised that this is the very first time it’s been done in the White House. This is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs, so this is good that it’s done now.

Technically, White House staff participated in doing a couple of these during the Clinton administration. Thing is, though, Bill Clinton was a no-show. I’m not sure what he was doing, but he didn’t host it or participate in it- he just allowed his staff to do something if they wanted to. This one’s more newsworthy because Obama is playing an active role in hosting it and will actually be there with his family and close friends- from what I can tell, it’s a comparatively small thing where the Obamas are mostly in charge of the guest list. Oh, and I certainly agree that this is a great sign. America has kind of a checkered past with anti-Semitism when you venture back to the 1950’s (ish, I’m not exactly sure) and earlier. Christ’s Church started with the Jews and its destiny is to come back to them eventually, so I like how Christians are managing to have Jews on the radar without thinking of them as Christ’s enemies.

When I saw this quote, I thought it was pretty good.

[SIGN]William Daroff, who runs the United Jewish Communities’ Washington office, recalled that Franklin D. Roosevelt had snuck out the back door of the White House in 1943 to avoid seeing rabbis marching out front to demand US action to save European Jews from the Nazis.

“Sixty-six years later the president of the United States is spending Thursday evening with his friends and family celebrating the liberation and survival of the Jewish people,” Daroff noted. It was “a testament to how far we have come as a Jewish people in America,” he said.[/SIGN]

Hey, I hope you guys have an awesome Good Friday and worship Jesus with all your heart. I know I’m pretty excited.

Hhmm…just wondering:why is he celebrating the Seder now when Passover for Judaism would still be on the 14th?

I think the full moon was on the 9th. My Jewish sources say the 9th-16th.

Passover
April 9 - 16, 2009
Attain the keys to personal liberation and fulfillment! Hundreds of insights on the haggadah, family activities and games, gourmet cooking site, essays by leading Jewish educators, greeting

Did you ever notice that at the Last Supper recorded in the gospels, Jesus did not drink the fourth cup?

This is so significant that it amounts to skipping the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

Why do you suppose He chose to do that saying instead, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine again until…”?

Thoughts?

Catholics, please…let Mike answer this one. Thanks.

Scott Hahn in the Fourth Cup claims He did this with the wine on the cross.

28* After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 29:28-30 He takes Jesus words to mean that this completes the Seder which started the night before.

Note that this immediately follows the gift of Mary to John, and through him to all of us.

26* When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Professor Hahn suggests that this brought us all into the meal which we rejoin at each mass.

Did you notice that I asked Catholics to let Mike answer the question???

Sorry. Maybe better to put it at the beginning next time, or in the title.

The cup that Jesus used to establish the New Covenant was probably the 3rd cup. They sang a song after drinking it. Jesus also said “I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” A few hours later, Jesus asked the Father if “this cup” could pass from him.

The third cup is the Cup of Redemption. For over a thousand years, Jews drank this in remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt and as a representation of the Passover Lamb. No one ever believed the blood of that lamb was “literally present” in the wine, but that makes it no less meaningful. This cup also symbolized the promise of God’s deliverance in the future. When Jesus said “This is my blood,” the “this” that He referred to was more than a physical cup of wine. It was the Third Cup all wrapped up in over a thousand years of symbolism and promise. It always was a symbol, and it always will be a symbol- but Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise and the actuality of what the Passover Lamb merely prefigured.

Jesus didn’t drink the Fourth Cup at dinner that night. The synoptic gospels don’t record the next time he drank wine, but John does.

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Matthew and Mark both talk about people offering Jesus a drink early on, which Jesus refused. Luke talks about soldiers who offer Jesus a drink in the process of mocking him. In John, though, Jesus asks for a drink of wine mixed with vinegar. It is raised to his mouth with a stalk of hyssop- the same stuff used to prefigure Jesus with the Passover Lamb. This seems to be the Fourth Cup. After drinking it, Jesus says “It is finished” and he dies. It also says He knew that “all was completed,” so it makes sense for him to drink the Cup of Completion at this time.

The Fourth Cup is the Cup of Hallel, which means “Praise.” It is also referred to as the Cup of the Kingdom and the Cup of Completion. My response to your question would be this: Jesus didn’t drink of that cup at the Last Supper because “it” was not yet “complete.” He refused to drink wine early in the Crucifixion because “it” was still not “complete.” (There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it). Once it was complete, Jesus drank wine symbolizing this completion. Then He said “it is finished” and died.

I’m not really sure what your point is. Mine is pretty simple: Based on over 1,000 years of precedent, all the elements of the Passover are clearly symbolic, and that’s what Jesus and His disciples were up to that night. So that’s what the precedent is. It doesn’t make a case, but it’s always the first place you start. What’s your point? I think you brought this up in order to make some kind of case for transubstantiation. So go ahead and make it.

Mike, this is excellent! You are spot on to this point. But I have to ask this question now: Was the work of redemption complete at that point? Is that the “it” that Jesus was referring to when He said, “It is finished”?

I’m not really sure what your point is. Mine is pretty simple: Based on over 1,000 years of precedent, all the elements of the Passover are clearly symbolic, and that’s what Jesus and His disciples were up to that night. So that’s what the precedent is. It doesn’t make a case, but it’s always the first place you start. What’s your point? I think you brought this up in order to make some kind of case for transubstantiation. So go ahead and make it.

We’ll get there when all the pieces are in place first. The question above needs consideration first. Thanks.

Thank you, sir.

You are spot on to this point. But I have to ask this question now: Was the work of redemption complete at that point? Is that the “it” that Jesus was referring to when He said, “It is finished”?

John 19:28- Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."

Jesus knew that all was now completed, and that’s why he chose to partake of the “cup of completion” (which goes by several other names) at this point. Yes, all was completed. I realize the resurrection, ascension, rapture, second coming, millennial reign, and the general “end of days” are all things that hadn’t happened yet, but as far as the completion of the atonement and the end of the symbolic Seder that went with it, that was completed.

I believe John is fairly clear on that when he spoke of Jesus “knowing that all was now completed.” All meaning what? Concerning the crucifixion- or atonement, I don’t know if you want to distinguish between the two- is what I would say. Jesus drank a little wine, said “it is finished,” and gave up his spirit immediately after this verse.

It does, after all, say “all was now completed.” You have to come up with something that was completed. That’s my best attempt. What’s yours? I think you’re about to tell me what isn’t yet complete, but while you’re doing that, I sure hope you also give an explanation for just what is complete- remembering that whatever it is, all of it is complete as of the very end of Jesus’ life.

We’ll get there when all the pieces are in place first. The question above needs consideration first. Thanks.

You’re very welcome. I think I see where most of this is going- as far as what isn’t complete, anyway. Do make sure you tell me what is complete, though. “All” is kind of a general term. I tend to think it has something to do with Jesus right at that time and place, and perhaps we can take the events of the past day or so into account, too. Whatever it is, it’s all completed. I encourage you to bear that in mind.

Ps- in defense of Joe, he may not have known my name was Mike. It may also have been an oversight, but the triple m also possibly could have helped.

Mike-

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner…I thought you were working on a paper, so when this post dropped off page one, I didn’t look for it. Sorry. :blush:

Actually, “it is finished” cannot refer to Jesus’ salvific work because Paul tells us that “he was raised for our justification.” That hadn’t happened at the time that Jesus spoke those words from the cross.

I know you are a very bright young man and a reader, so I’m going to direct you to a couple of articles by another bright guy, Scott Hahn, who graduated from the Presbyterian Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary *summa cum *laude with a master’s degree in Systematic Theology and went on to get a Ph.D. from Marquette where he also graduated *summa cum *laude (Phi Beta Kappa). He was also pastor at a large Presbyterian Church in the Washington, DC area for many years. Today, he is a professor of theology at a mid-western university.

This whole “Fourth Cup” thing is his baby, and I think he can explain it far better than I. Let me know what you think of his ideas.

Short article:

**The Hunt for the Fourth Cup **
By Scott Hahn
catholic.com/thisrock/1991/9109fea1.asp

Transcript of a talk on the same topic (longer but more detailed) - the website is a horrific red color, but if you cut and paste the text into a word document, it will be easy to read:

THE FOURTH CUP
By Scott Hahn
webpages.marshall.edu/~trimbol3/4thcup4.htm

bump for Mike

Hey, sorry I took so long. Something came up- a little “return of the prodigal” situation. Then I didn’t find the right thread right away. I think I’m going to start a new thread for the articles.

My extremely short response for what “It is finished” means, though: The sacrifice was finished. And so were all sacrifices for sin.

See you at the new thread. We’ll talk more.

And now that the new thread is created, this is the link.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=5287642#post5287642

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