Week 7 The Flavor of Love
What flavors do you think of at this time of year? What delights your taste buds? Think of the kaleidoscope of tastes, the traditional and the new, fresh fruits and desserts, eggs and breads. Some of the flavors we think of would also have been part of the first Easter season. But some of the common foods for Jesus are foreign to us. Of course the Hebrew people have many laws and customs which affect their diets (they did not have ham!). Imagine what Jesus and the disciples snacked on while they traveled. What do you think Mary and Martha fixed as a special treat when Jesus came to dinner?
God wants us to experience Him with each of our senses. His word declares: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” (Ps. 34:8)
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. Ps. 119:103
Devotions: Passion Week events
Sunday: Matt. 21:1-11. Luke 19:28-44. John 12:12-19
Mon – Matt. 21:12-22. Mk 11:12-26. Luke 19:45-48
Tues. – Mt 21:23-26.Mk 11:27-13:37. Luke 20:1-22:6. John 12:20-50
Wed – No record
Thurs – Mt 26:17-56. Mk14:1-52. Luke 22:7-53. John 13:1-18:11
Fri – Mt 26:57-27:61. Mk. 14:53-15:47. Luke 22:54-23:56. John 18:12-19:42
Sat. – Mt 27:62-67
Sun. – Mt. 28:1-15. Mk. 16:1-11. Luke 24:1-35. John 20:1-23
Taste: Eating Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday is an old English custom dating from the 14th century. The symbol on top of each bun represents the cross on which Christ died.
Listen: Read or listen to someone read the Biblical account of the first Easter.
Look: Make plans to watch the sunrise on Resurrection morning. Choose a special quiet place from which the sunrise can be seen. Prepare a simple picnic breakfast of juice, hot cocoa or tea, rolls, hard boiled eggs, fruit, etc. Find and mark the Bible passage. Take a blanket to sit on and set out a jacket. Set your alarm. You could also find and attend an Easter sunrise service.
Smell: Sweet smelling spices such as myrrh, mint and cinnamon were used in Bible times for food, worship and placed in burial clothes. On Easter morning the women brought spices to anoint Jesus, but the stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty. Make some Stone bread (aka Resurrection Buns) and smell the spices baking.
Touch: Prepare for the Resurrection by decorating your house. Make a special centerpiece for your Easter dinner. Prepare a menu and invite others over to celebrate the day with you. There are several good ideas for decorations:
1. The Easter Egg tree is a tradition from Europe; it is a well-shaped branch planted in a brightly colored pot and decorated with Easter symbols and eggs hung from the branches including lambs, crosses, ducks, sweets, flowers, bells, butterflies. Note: Blown eggs are the easiest eggs to hang – pass a thread through the holes and anchor at the end with a bead or ribbon (or tie the thread around a toothpick and push the toothpick into the hole. It should stay.) A branch from a fruit tree in blossom is especially fragrant and festive and since we live in AZ there are lovely Manzanita branches with the red bark reminding one of the blood of Jesus! Make sure to strip off any dead leaves and anchor the branch with sand, pebbles or plaster of paris. You can spray paint the branch white or a light pastel color as well.
2. Another idea is to line a basket with plastic and place potted tulips, pansies, daffodils, etc. in the basket. Add some small pots of ivy and moss.
3. A vase of freshly cut flowers is simple.
4. Tie helium filled balloons to each chair to symbolize Christ’s rising from the dead and ascending into heaven. Write a message on each balloon.
5. for each place setting, make alleluia stones. Use a smooth light colored stone and paint a favorite scripture verse or symbol or phrase on each stone using tempera or acrylic paint. When the paint dries coat the stone with a varnish or similar finish.
Do: The Seder is a meal or the Passover celebration that recalls the liberation of Israel from Egypt and slavery. It is the Seder meal that Jesus and His followers celebrated in the upper room on the night of Jesus’ arrest. Passover lasts 7 or 8 days and begins with a meal and worship called Seder (or Order) because they always follow a certain order. Every food in this meal has a special meaning.
You will need a small cup and plate for each person. Place the following items on each plate: parsley (sweet herbs), horseradish (bitter herbs), a hard boiled egg, haroset, a roasted lamb shank (you can cut one from construction paper or make lamb patties). Place plates of broken matzo and small bowls of saltwater within reach of everyone. Grape juice will also be needed.
Everyone reads aloud from the Haggadah, the Seder service book, which tells the story of the Exodus.
- Matzo represents the unleavened bread the Jews took with them when they escaped. they didn’t have time to wait for the dough to rise. We must be ready and watching for Christ’s return. Also, in the Bible, yeast represents evil; God wants us to be pure.
- Parsley or other sweet herbs such as watercress is a sign of spring and new eternal life and it reminds us of the sweetness of freedom. It is dipped in saltwater as a remembrance of the tears of slavery.
- Bitter herbs and horseradish signify the bitterness of slavery. It also reminds us that many have suffered for the sake of the Gospel.
- The roasted lamb shank represents the lamb sacrificed on the night before the exodus, as well as the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed for our sins (John 1;29).
- Haroset represents the bricks and mortar that the Jews used to build while they were slaves in Egypt. The sweetness of the mixture signifies freedom. It is easy to make: Mix 1 c. chopped, peeled apples, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp grape juice, 1/4 c. chopped nuts, 1 tsp sugar. To make is a paste blend all the ingredients in a blender.
- The roasted or hard boiled egg symbolizes the survival of the children of Israel. It also represents the free will offering given with the lamb. A free will offering is a gift of love; Jesus was that gift of mercy and forgiveness when God’s law only required justice.
- The grape juice represents the celebration and joy of freedom. As each plague is mentioned a little is sipped, reminding us that joy isn’t complete without total freedom! At the last supper, Jesus said the wine represented his blood. he had to die so we could enjoy and celebrate complete joy and freedom! An extra glass of wine/juice is placed on the table and the door is opened to welcome Elijah, the prophet, and his announcement of the Messiah, who is to come. For Christians, this glass does not remain untouched, for the Messiah has come as John the Baptist foretold it in Matt. 11:14. It is shared by everyone at the table in joy. He is alive!
In a Jewish home this meal is traditionally the best meal the family can afford. Following the ceremony, you may want to try some of the traditional foods like matzo balls, egg soup, figs, marinated herring, bananas, kumquats, macaroons (afikoman), roast chicken or lamb. This is a celebration so give of your best. you may want to forego an expensive meal and give the money that would have been spent as an offering.
A seven branch candelabra is lighted also. Food is shared together has always been seen itself as a pledge of friendship and loyalty.