Friday, April 06, 2012

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu ... yadda yadda yadda

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech haolam, 
asher kidishanu bimitzvotav vitzivanu lahadlik ner shel yom tov.

Seder last night at the church was a really nice event. Our pastor Rob was the leader and I was the "woman leader." At a home seder it would be mom and dad, or male and female head of household. We had a table set for 40, plus one for Elijah, sitting next to me. Rob explained how as the leaders we were the head of household and I got some laughs with putting on my best Long Island Jewish Mother accent and said "so, tonight I'm your mom."

You all know I love channeling my inner Jewish Mom.

Set up went well, I thought that the person coordinating it was out of her mind wanting us there at 3:30 but ... yeah. Putting up that many tables, seats, plates with charoset, horseradish, parsley and matzo was time consuming.  I had made chicken soup, matzo balls and charoset the night before. The charoset recipe was from a very old friend's mom, and it was spectacular. I may put it all in little dumplings and bake pies out of them for Easter Service coffee hour. I have so much left over.

I had fun on Facebook chronicling my activities -- I wrote Haiku about the process, I freaked out about my matzoh balls being as big as a baby's head. My Jewish friends were at once horribly entertained and supportive.

The female head of household gets to light the candles and sing the blessing, so that was my role. I executed my task respectfully and it all worked out great. I didn't set myself or others on fire. I didn't stand up and spill a glass of wine grape juice all over the table (sorry, Elijah, no wine grape juice for you!)

We concluded the service with communion, bringing the Seder to the Last Supper where Jesus gave his instructions to his disciples saying "Take, Eat, Drink. The gifts of God for the people of God..." and it was lovely.

Fantastically, timing-wise it almost worked out that Doug and Jess both arrived at the church just a few minutes before we did the ceremonial opening of the door for Elijah. I had some laughs with my friend Jon earlier in the day contemplating how funny it would be if one of the little wee kids opened the door and there was Doug in a robe with a chalice in hand and cotton-ball beard stained with wine. Not sure others would find that funny but we painted ourselves a great picture of the hilarity that would ensue.

At the end of the service, one of the cute little ladies walked up and took my hands. She was crying, which absolutely took me by surprise. She said "thank you for this, I needed this, and it seems everything you touch for us in this church is like gold." I told her to stop it, that I wasn't taking credit for touching anything. The only thing I did was light some candles, sing a ditty, and read the script. She should really go thank the coordinator. So I made her go over, and the coordinator was equally shocked by the sight of tears.

I kind of wear it as a badge of honor that I had a small part in making someone cry good tears of connection, of recognizing the Seder and Last Supper connection, of connection with the other people in the congregation. These are beautiful things. And when people say they "don't need church or religion to be closer to God," yes ... this is true. But, sometimes you need community. You need other people. And right now that is where I think this little lady is. And it makes me glad to help in providing that in a way that isn't a drive-by.

All told, a good evening.

Pictures on Flickr of course starting at the bottom of this page and moving to page 3, but here are a few for sampling. And for my Jewish friends, Yom Tov people! For my Christian friends -- I hope that however you are observing this holiday weekend you find joy on Sunday. Alleluia, Alleluia indeed.

shhhhh. my cheat sheet.

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