Posted on Thu, Apr 17, 2014
From the Pastor
This year we are going to offer a new and exciting worship opportunity for Maundy Thursday. We are celebrating Passover, Pesach in Hebrew. We will do that by participating in a Seder meal. It is based on the traditional Jewish celebration of Passover, but adapted into a uniquely Christian celebration. We will retain as much as possible from traditional Jewish observance. This reminds us that God did not begin God’s self-revelation in the world with Christians, but with Hebrews, Israelites, Jews first. It also reminds us that Jesus was not a Christian, but a Jew. It is only in recognizing that connection we have to four thousand years of God at work creating a people that we can truly appreciate who we are as people of God.
Seder means “order,” which simply means that the celebration will follow a certain order, marked by the drinking of four cups of the fruit of the vine, (in our case, Communion cups of grape juice.) This “order” is given in the Haggadah, the booklet that is the “telling” of the Passover story. The entire service will be printed in a booklet that all participants will receive. Since there is an order to the service, I will be providing instructions on what to do and when to do it as we go along.
This service is a sacred time of worship. But even though it follows a strict order, it is not formal. In Judaism, Passover is not a public service of worship but is celebrated as a family meal. The father and mother, or grandparents, lead the service, and it is much more of a celebration than anything solemn.
While this is a traditional Jewish celebration, it is also a Christian festival. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that it was at a Passover meal that Jesus inaugurated what became known to Christians as the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. Since this is a Christian celebration, we are going to celebrate Passover as Christians, perhaps in a way similar to what Jesus and the disciples might have done. That means that we will conclude the service with the celebration of Communion.
The service begins with the removal of all leaven from the house. We will have the young people present look for hidden pieces of leavened bread, which will then be removed from the room. We then light the Passover candles with a prayer, followed by a hymn. Next comes the First Cup, the Cup of Sanctification and Freedom. After a reminder that God is a God who keeps promises, we drink the first cup.
A ceremonial hand-washing by the leader is next. This is followed by the eating of the green vegetable (parsley)-symbolizing life, dipped in salt water - symbolizing tears, accompanied by readings from Song of Solomon. We then break the first matzoh (unleavened bread), the bread of affliction, but do not eat it.
The story of Passover is told as a question-and-answer dialog between the young people and the adults. As part of the retelling of the story, we will dip our finger into the second cup and place a drop of juice on our plates for each of the ten plagues visited upon Egypt. There will be two hymns sung during this part of the service.
After a prayer over the second cup, The Cup of Deliverance, we drink the second cup. Then, symbolizing the bitterness of slavery, we take a bite of the bitter herb (horseradish). We then make the “Hillel sandwich” of horseradish, Romaine lettuce, and matzoh, mourning the fact that the Temple is no longer standing, and there are no more sacrifices. For reason we do not eat the Passover lamb but merely symbolize its presence with a lamb shank bone on the leaders’ plate. We dip the sandwich in Charoseth, a mixture of apples, cinnamon, and other spices (representing the mortar used to bind the bricks together in Egypt). The sweetness of the Charoseth reminds us of the sweetness God can bring into the most bitter of circumstances. After eating the sandwich, we depart somewhat from the traditional Jewish Seder.
The third cup, the Cup of Redemption was traditionally called Elijah’s cup. An empty place setting was left for Elijah, who was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. The third cup was taken to express the hope for the Messiah. Some scholars believe it was this third cup which Jesus used to institute the Eucharist. Since we believe that the Messiah has already come, we break bread and drink the third cup as part of our Communion celebration.
We conclude with a hymn, the Lord’s Prayer, and drinking of the fourth cup, after which the Passover candles are extinguished, and our service comes to an end. (Excerpted and adapted from “A Passover Seder for Christians” by Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2013, Dennis Bratcher, All Rights Reserved)
I want to thank the Worship Committee for agreeing to attempt this celebration this year and for gathering and preparing the items necessary. If you find it meaningful and enjoyable, we are considering inviting the community at large to join us next year. Thanks to Margaret Johnson, who found the Haggadah (liturgy) we are using online and did a great deal of the work involved in making this happen. I pray that this celebration will bring us a closer relationship with our Lord and a greater appreciation of the Lord’s Supper.
The Rev. Randy Nolen
Our next meeting is on April 14, at 9:30 am. We will be studying Lesson #7, “Covenant Living.” Our lesson leader will be Rev. Randy Nolen and our hostess will be Dixie Loy. Hope to see you there.
It’s that time again, time to help out Hungry Harold. He says for April 2014, he is in need of Kool-Aid and/or Drink Mixes along with Pastas and Dried Pinto Beans. He gives thanks for the many blessings he has received from members and friends of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
In March, 2014, we delivered to Community Kitchen from Hungry Harold 64 lbs. pinto beans, 7 lbs. pasta, l lb rice, 2 lbs instant mashed potatoes, l jar spaghetti sauce, and 2 jars ice cream topping. Thanks all!
Your library has on offer some recently acquired books, though not necessarily new ones, that might be of interest to readers.
To God Alone Be Glory, by Harold M.Daniels, is The Story & Sources of the Book of Common Worship. Mr. Daniels was for many years the director of the Joint Office of Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.) and the United Presbyterian Church (USA) and was the editor of the current Book of Common Worship. Copyrighted in 2003, this book is “in a highly useful text, the fruit of extensive study and research, telling the fascinating history of Reformed worship in America, from the 1600s to the present.” It explores how the book itself serves as an agenda for liturgical reform within the church. In the second part, there are sources of the prayers and other material used in the Book of Common Worship. It is a fine book, useful for planning, presenting, studying, or teaching about Presbyterian worship.
We have a 444-page volume, written by two great authors in our tradition, Peter Marshall and David Manuel. Entitled From Sea to Shining Sea, it is a sequel to another book of theirs, The Light and the Glory, and deals with God’s plan for America as it has unfolded from 1787 to 1837, taking us back to the post-revolutionary era to reveal how God did intervene on behalf of our struggling young nation. It explains how “America’s divine plan became downgraded and its future threatened by greed, pride, and self-righteousness, and how in the midst of all this turmoil, God raised up the right men to shape the political structure and moral character that make America ‘God’s Country.’” Presbyterian minister Peter Marshall, son of the late Senate chaplain of the same name and the famous Catherine Marshall, has gained national recognition as a preacher and teacher on Christian growth and maturity. David Manuel is author of twelve books, including The Jesus Factor and Like a Mighty River. The book asks, “America, America, has God shed His grace on thee?”
A fairly small paperback could be of help for readers looking for sample prayers. Entitled The Prayers I Love, it is a lovely little book, with selections chosen by David Redding, beautiful calligraphy by Alice Girand, and illustrations by Sarah Blue. The prayers are drawn from the writings of the great and small, such as St. Augustine, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, John Donne, and the Bible itself.
Check it out.
Anne the Librarian
Adult Christian Education
Subjected to various interruptions, the adults have been engaged in discussing the devotions found in the little pamphlet, His Cross for My Salvation, Daily Lenten Devotions based on St. Patrick’s Breastplate, edited by John H. Tietjen. Each weekday, on our own, we read and contemplate the daily devotion, storing up ideas for discussion when the class meets at 10:45 after the Sunday morning service. The lessons will continue in this way until Easter. Discussion is varied and challenging and fun. Everyone is invited to attend. Copies of the little, purple pamphlet may be found on the table in the Narthex. A treasure.
March 2 . . . . . 53
March 9 . . . . . 59
March 16. . . . . 52
March 23. . . . . 55
Property met on January 25th and voted to invest in a security system and night light covering the shed and air conditioner area.
Committee met and are discussing moving the sound booth.
Special thanks to Bart Buxton for the new railing, near the entrance of the fellowship hall.
Grant and Clay Pinkerton will be installing window and counter for the sound booth, once complete, everything will be moved downstairs.
Our Church Family
Dottie Parsons has completed her Masters in Educational Technology and walked in the graduation ceremony on March 15 in Phoenix Az. Bill and Connie Berckes and Lee Perckett attended.
Lee Perckett has had two trips this year with his school, one to Phoenix and one to San Diego, CA. He also competed in the State math competition. Said they had fun. Dot, Lee and Tom Berckes all have birthdays in March. Lane had his 3rd birthday on February 15.
At its meeting on Sunday, March 9, 2014, the Session conducted the following business:
Pastor’s Report: . – attended COM meeting and Presbytery Leadership Team meeting – will attend Synod Meeting March 21 and 22– will be conducting COM business on March 30 (after service) – will be attending BOP Seminar in San Diego May 7-8, and I am COM liaison to Roswell First and Alamogordo First.
Committee Reports and Recommendations:
COMMUNICATIONS –Annual reports are due and should be submitted to Tom Johnson before May Session meeting – preferably by e-mail.
New Business: The Annual PW Gathering cannot be held April 26 in Clovis – Westminster has offered to host on May 3– more information after confirmation. Approximately twenty members attended our Ash Wednesday service and everyone was impressed with the service.
Marilyn Nolen may possibly serve as our other Commissioner.
Review of Upcoming Dates:
April 6 – Congregational Meeting – to elect Elders for the Session Class of 2017, to elect three members from the congregation for the Nominating Committee for 2014-2015, and one member from the congregation for the Endowment Committee 2017.
Holy Week April 13-18
Christian Seder April 17, 6:30 pm; Good Friday Service April 18, 6:30 pm
Easter potluck April 20, 11:00 am
April 6 Betty Hanson
April 13 Larry Loy
April 20 Ann Dye
April 27 (Open)
Mark Your Calendars!
April 2, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
April 2, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 3, 9:00am. Comm. Kitchen
April 5, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 6, 9:30am Communion Sunday
April 6, 10:45am. Evangelism & Concern Committee Meeting
April 6, 11:00am. Worship Committee Meeting
April 9, 4pm. Chimes Practice
April 9, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 12, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 13, 11:00am. Session Meeting
April 13. Palm Sunday
April 14, 9:30am. PW Circle
April 16, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
April16, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 17, 9:00am. Comm. Kitchen
April 17, 6:30pm. Seder Service
April 18. CHIMES Deadline
April 18, 6:30pm. Good Friday Svc.
April 19, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 20, 11am. Easter Potluck
April 23, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
April 23, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 24, 5:00pm. CASA
April 26, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 27. Cents-Ability Collection
April 28, 9:00am. Piece Maker’s Day
April 30, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
April 30, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
Westminster Presbyterian Church
(575) 622-2801 phone
Pastor’s office hours:
Monday – Thursday 9 – 1
And by Appointment
Admin. Asst. office hours:
Monday - Friday:
8:00 – 1:00
Contributions are kindly requested by the third Friday of each month.
Editor Ann Dye
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