In lieu of our regular editorial, as a service to any of you who will be unable to observe the Passover with one of our local congregations and will be observing the Passover in your home, we are providing these general instructions for your convenience.
There will be a pre-taped Passover Service available on our Web site (in the AUDIO section) for any who choose to use that service; or, a tape of that service can be provided by mail for those who request it.
–The Ministry of The Church of the Eternal God.
TAKING THE PASSOVER AT HOME
In advance, purchase or prepare a small amount of plain unleavened bread. In most cases you will be able to buy it at the grocery store if you so desire. There are several kinds of unleavened bread, including matzos. But don’t assume all flat bread is unleavened. Check the label to be sure the bread does not contain any leavening (yeast, baking soda, baking powder, etc.).
You will also need a small amount of natural red wine. Be sure you obtain a natural, unfortified wine. Alcohol content will be between 10 and 13%. (Wines containing 19 or 20% alcohol are fortified with brandy and should not be used.) Any natural red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon, claret or burgundy can be used.
Be prepared to observe the sacred ordinance in the early evening after sunset. This is a special occasion, so provide a clean and neat room with complete privacy if possible. Have a small amount of the unleavened bread, very small glasses of wine (one for each person) prepared on a tray or table. Pour no more than two tablespoons of wine into each small glass.
The Passover includes the foot-washing service, so pans, water, and towels will be needed at the beginning.
When the time has arrived for the ordinance, let those participating in the service quietly come into the room. Older children and unbaptized adults may attend as observers only, if they are genuinely interested in learning about the service. They should not, under any circumstance, partake in the eating of the bread or drinking of the wine. There should be no frivolous talking, laughing or joking, though normal greetings should be exchanged. You are meeting on the most solemn occasion of the year, and should do so reverently.
The leader can remind the others at the start of the service that this is the most solemn and sacred occasion of the year – the anniversary of the death of our Lord and Savior, and a service observed in memory of His sacrifice. The one conducting the service should open the Bible and read Luke 22:7-8 and verses 13-15. Then go to Matthew 26:17 and verses 26-30, followed by Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:23-30. Next read John 6:53-54, pointing out that this is commanded for all Christians. Then, read John 13:1-17, concerning the foot-washing.
Then, if two or more people are participating, wash one another’s feet. If one person is observing it alone, this part of the ordinance is omitted.
The pans and towels can be removed if necessary.
(At this point, scriptures concerning the bread may be repeated if desired.)
Next, the one conducting the service will give thanks and ask God in prayer to bless the bread as a symbol of Christ’s physical body, broken for us, showing that His sacrifice covers our physical infirmities and makes healing available to us (cite 1 Peter 2:24). Then, break the bread into small bits and pass it around. Each worshiper should quietly eat one small piece of the bread, reflecting on its significance.
(Scriptures concerning the wine may be repeated here if desired.)
Then, over the wine, the leader will pray, giving thanks and asking God to bless it to this sacred use as the symbol of Christ’s blood shed for the remission of our sins. Next pass the wine, and let each participant take a glass and quietly, reverently drink it as a renewal of his acceptance of the blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
The leader should then read aloud from John 13:31 through John 17. These are the words Jesus spoke to His disciples after His last Passover supper with them, just before He was arrested and crucified. Since it is rather long, the leader may, in advance of the service, mark certain portions of these chapters, instead of reading every verse.
After the scripture reading, sing a hymn before exiting, just as Christ and the disciples did (cite Matthew 26:30). Then dismiss quietly, leaving the room without undue conversation.
After the service has ended and the worshipers have left the room, the one in charge should burn any portion of the bread and wine left over from the service, which had earlier been consecrated by prayer for this special use only.