Sunday, 7 October 2012

A service with passover foods


My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old - things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done

(Psalm 78. 1-4)


Readings from Exodus and tastings

1.8 Then a new king,...came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor... But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.

3.7 Then the Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

12.1. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.

“The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.

22 “Take a bunch of hyssop dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe.

First tasting: parsley dipped in salt water

(Parsley symbolises the hyssop, the salt water symbolises the blood.)

8. “That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs and bread without yeast.



 Second tasting: horseradish dipped in charoseth

(The horseradish represents the bitter herbs, the charoseth symbolised the mud the Israelites used to make bricks and mortar in Egypt.)

8. “That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs and bread without yeast.

“Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.

14. “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord - a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast.

Third tasting: unleavened bread***

17. “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’”

A reading from 1 Corinthians

5.7b Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch - as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
All: His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.
All: His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
All: His love endures forever.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
All: His love endures forever.

and brought Israel out from among them
All: His love endures forever.

with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
All: His love endures forever.

to him who led his people through the wilderness;
All: His love endures forever.

He remembered us in our low estate
All: His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies.
All: His love endures forever.

He gives food to every creature.
All: His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
All: His love endures forever.

(Psalm 136. 1-3, 10-12, 16, 23-26)

* Sprigs of parsley + a bowl of salty water
** Sticks of horseradish + a bowl of charoseth (100g/4oz of walnuts, a large cooking apple peeled, cored and sliced, 1 tsp sugar, 2tsps cinnamon, red wine.  Blend the walnuts, apple, sugar and cinnamon in a mixer then moisten with red wine.)
*** Matzos broken into pieces

A service with fruit


Leader: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

(Isaiah 55: 1-2)

Readings from the Song of Songs and tastings

Part 1: First voice (She)


First reading: 7: 10-12

I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me. Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom there I will give you my love.

Second reading: 2: 2-4 

Like an apricot tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.

First tasting: apricot*


Third reading: 2: 5-6

Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apricots, for I am faint with love. His left hand is under my head, and his right arm embraced me.


Second tasting: raisin**






Fourth reading: 4: 16

Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.

Part 2: Second voice (He)

Fifth reading: 2: 10 -13

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me



Third tasting: fig***


Sixth reading: 4: 12-15

You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.


Fourth tasting: pomegranate***

Seventh reading: 5: 1

I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love.


Leader: God of life and love
All: We rejoice in your abundant gifts

Leader: God of all peoples and all places
All: We celebrate your generosity and grace

Leader: God of the earth and the heavens
All: We praise you for your provision

Leader: God of life and love
All: We bless your holy name


* Apricots cut into slices (eighths)
** Raisins in a bowl
*** Figs cut into slices (eighths)
**** Pomengranate seeds in a bowl

A service with wine

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
As we gather here to taste of your suffering and goodness,
Help us to remember your death and resurrection,
And help us to look for the new wine of your kingdom
All: Amen.

Readings and tastings

First reading: Mark 14: 23-25

And [Jesus] took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."


Second reading: Mark 14: 32-36

And they went to a place which was called Gethsem'ane; and [Jesus] said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I pray." And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch." And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt."

Third reading: Mark 15: 22-24a

And they brought [Jesus] to the place called Gol'gotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him.


First tasting: diluted red wine vinegar *


Fourth reading: John 2: 1-10

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it.

When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."

Fifth reading:  Mark 2: 19-20 and 22

And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. ...No one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins."


Second tasting: desert wine



All praise to you our God and Father
For you have quenched our thirst from the true vine:
Hear our prayer that, being grafted into Christ,
We may grow together in unity
And feast with him in his holy kingdom;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
All: Amen.

* A good red wine vinegar diluted 1:1 with water
** A good desert wine such as Tokaji
Provide in individual shot glasses.