Passover Seder, Palms, and the Third Word

Two weeks ago, Rabbi Alan Cook wrote to members of the Interfaith Alliance:

Dear Friends,

Passover will be here in about a month.  Ramadan, Ostara, and Easter are also on the horizon, and our Baha’i friends are celebrating Nawruz.  I wish joyous and meaningful celebrations to all.

The past several years, in various contexts, Sinai Temple has organized an interfaith Passover Seder.  I regret that I don’t have the bandwidth to do so this year in quite as robust a fashion as previously, but I do propose the program below:

Traditionally, during our Passover Seder, we say “Let all who are hungry come and eat; let all who are thirsty come and drink.”  (BTW, Christian friends, some feel that Jesus’ teaching at the end of Matthew 25 is a riff on this).

I would like to create a still picture slideshow in which each of you would take a picture holding a sign with your version of  “Let all who are hungry…” or “Let all who are thirsty….” 

I have tremendous respect for Rabbi Cook and am very grateful for his leadership in our community. He is generous, creative, and smart. I wanted to say yes; I am honored to be included. What is New Covenant’s niche answer to this prompt? What role of hospitality do we fill in this community?

A week later, I got an email from Reverend Terrance Thomas inviting me to participate in the Ministerial Alliance Seven Last Words worship experience on Good Friday. My choices were Words 3, 4, or 6. Having never been, I asked him to explain my options. Now I am scheduled to give a mini-teaching on Woman, behold, thy son! …John 19:26-27 on the first night of Passover. 

Today I ordered palms from the local florist. Yes, I am tardy. We haven’t celebrated Palm Sunday together since the pandemic began. Our Leadership Team has been praying for in-person Easter. Finally, we will convene a choir to celebrate. 

How does all of this fit together? I look forward to Ron explaining Sunday, as I asked him to speak to the anti-Judaism that often pervades Christian Holy Week. Fittingly, Rabbi Cook wrote the Foreword to Ron’s first book, Truth, Tears, Turning, and Trusting: A Pastor’s Plea to End Our Ongoing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Judaism. We will also celebrate Jesus’ coming reign, when the people of Jerusalem recognized him as king, dangerous as that was for everyone involved. 

I look forward to sharing the Sinai Temple Interfaith Seder slideshow with you. If you are in town, I hope you will join the community worship experience at Bethel AME at 7pm on April 15th. Both of these will inform our online-only service the first night of Passover, which is also Good Friday, so that you may partake whenever and wherever. Indeed, may these times be meaningful and nourishing for all. 


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