A Jewish tradition staged in an Episcopal church
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS William Diehm, left, and Rev. John Wagner, stand in front of cross covered in black in St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jim Thorpe. The cross is covered as a symbol of sadness for the crucifixion. Last night, a Jewish seder banquet was held at the church.
A unique service was held last night in historic St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jim Thorpe.
A Pesach Seder banquet was staged, followed by a dinner of beef, mashed potatoes, and corn.
The Pesach Sedar plate is a Jewish tradition, said Rev. John Wagner, church pastor. It consists of a banquet filled with ritual and the telling of the Passover story.
Rev. Wagner led about 30 parishioners through the rite which consisted of karpas, a symbolic green vegetable dipped into a bowl of salt water as a reminder of the bitterness of slavery; betzah, a roasted egg symbolic of the Passover sacrifices as well as being symbolic of life, and charoset, a past made of chopped apples, cinnamon, and wine, symbolic of the mortar used by the slaves for making bricks.
The pastor recited the service which stated, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and the Lord, our God, took us out from there was a strong hand and with an outstretched arm. If the Holy One, blessed be He, had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children and our children;s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt."
Another customary event that occurred at last night's dinner was the drinking of four cups of wine corresponding to the four statements made by God in Exodus 6:6-7: "I will bring you out." "I will deliver you." "I will redeem you." And "I will take you."
Rev. Wagner told the gatherers that when Jesus met with his Disciples on the Eve of his crucifixion, that the first communion was staged. He said the seder banquet was similar to the one Jesus held.
"The purpose is to help you as Christians, to help you understand what Jesus did in that upper room," he said.