I mentioned this before, right? That in the last year our family has had a bit of a shift in terms of how we approach our faith? Well, if not, and without going all super-deep and emotional on you, the general gist of it is that we’ve taken our minimalist-lifestyle and stretched it over into our faith life as well.
And before you start envisioning me as a total ascetic, know that I’m gulping locally-brewed kombucha and watching Bridget Jones’s Baby as I write this, so I’m still the obnoxious hipster-mom wannabe that I’ve always been. Now back to our story: ultimately, after a super-tough trial period in our marriage, my faith (and truthfully, my husband’s faith) was tested in a pretty serious way. I’ve always leaned heavily on my faith through whatever tough stuff I’ve faced, but as I’ve gotten older and gone through more, I’ve needed my faith to be a lot more than something that makes me feel better about myself and my ability to survive challenging circumstances. I’ve always been a church-goer- and not just because I love worship, but because I legitimately love a sermon and the feeling that carries over after hearing a message that I can relate to and carry with me throughout the coming week.
The tough part, though, the real test of my faith, came more when, in a really scary and introspective place, I struggled to find how I could become more in touch with who God would have me be, when I honestly couldn’t identify who He was myself. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve read the entire Bible. I’ve attended Bible studies for years, and have subscribed to every possible approach to my faith there is. I consider myself a deeply spiritual person, but the problem is, I have more of an intellectual approach to my faith than a feeling approach to it. When people tell you “you’ll just know,” friends, I never just know. And that is definitely true when it comes to my faith, especially when the chips were down. In this particular hard time, I just really struggled seeing Jesus as a person who I could identify with when our lives and routines are so extraordinarily different. I’d professed so many times to trying to love people like Jesus loves them, or trying to see myself as God sees me, or even more challenging: trying to see other people as God sees them. In that dark time period, I found myself asking God who are you?
And, in the way the He does, God surprised me and eventually restored my faith in a greater fashion than I could have imagined. If you don’t know anything about the Hebrew Roots movement in the Christian faith, the simplest way to explain it is that it observes Christianity in the way that the earliest followers of Jesus did. No church-established routines or traditions, strictly the religious practices Jesus followed, and Paul after Him. We started first with observing shabbat, our weekly day of rest, and eventually took on observing the feasts laid out in Leviticus 23. What we found was pretty extraordinary. Every feast in Leviticus 23 points to Messiah. Every. Single. One.
This year, in Classical Conversations, the homeschool group we participate in once a week, our kids have been memorizing John 1:1-7 in latin and english. And one of the toughest concepts to understand is laid out here, in my favorite passage of scripture. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” I’ve never been able to really explain the idea of Jesus being with God in the beginning, and especially not to my young children. Truthfully, I hadn’t given a ton of thought to it (I’m not that introspective), but I’d always accepted the idea that God didn’t decide to send Jesus until He realized that sin was just awful and we really never would figure out how to right ourselves. (Theologians everywhere are rolling their eyes right now. I know.) But when we started observing the Feasts of Israel, the mo’edim, it hit me. Holy freaking smokes. This was it. This was the real story behind John 1:1-3. He really was with God in the beginning. God really was always working a plan. He always sought to reconcile us to Himself. It wasn’t by chance. We didn’t just screw up royally and get rescued by magic. The plan was always there.
Learning that saved me. And it saved my marriage. The idea that we don’t have it all figured out and that we don’t understand the whole picture, and that there’s a hell of a lot more at work than what our limited perspective can take in gave me an entirely different approach to life, marriage, and parenting. Total truth.
So why am I saying all this here? Well, since I started sharing with friends what we’re doing, TONS of my friends expressed their desire to observe Passover as Christian believers, and weren’t totally sure where to start. Lots of churches host a seder meal each year, and the resources out there can be a bit overwhelming, but if you don’t have an organized seder happening in your vicinity, it’s totally possible to celebrate on your own. And since it is the last meal Jesus had before His death, and since it is the cornerstone one of the most beautiful church traditions (communion) it really is a great way to get closer to who Jesus was and what His followers experienced. I’m going to be sharing over the next few days how our family celebrates a kid-friendly Seder (and how we include the crucifixion and resurrection into our observance), and if you wanted to observe a Seder in your home, or look closer at observing the feasts with your family, here are a few resources that the feasts easier for believers in messiah:
- Pesach by Lex B. Meyer is a Christian Haggadah (basically a liturgy for the Passover meal at home) and is a super easy way to celebrate at home or with friends (and there’s plenty of time to get it via Amazon before Friday!)
- Feasts of the Bible is an incredible study by a Jewish rabbi-turned believer in Messiah. We did this study as a family and it totally changed my life. It’s a group study with a DVD, leader guide, and pamphlet to simplify the feasts of Leviticus 23.
- Messiah in the Feasts of Israel by Sam Nadler is the companion book to Feasts of the Bible, but could stand alone as well. It’s super simple reading that highlights the feasts of the bible without adding a whole lot else- no contemplation or theorizing, just analysis of the scripture and placing it within historical context.
Whew. Did I exhaust you with all that? Surely you’d thought there was no way our family could go any further off the beaten path. I know, we’re nuts. But I can promise you I share all of this not to identify our household as one of culture-vultures who latch on to whatever whims come our way, but to encourage you that no matter how different you or your family may be, there is purpose in it. I’ve never been more convinced that we are all part of a much bigger plan, and that plan is so much larger and is working towards something so much more extraordinary than we can imagine. And even if you’re walking alone, know that your path is for you, and you may not be nearly as alone as you think.
If you’re up for it, stay tuned for my “How We Do a Messianic Passover with Kids” posts (or something like that). It’s going to be a fun week. And even though we’re alone celebrating this way, we’re happy to share it with you. It pretty amazing to just be us. Now. Bridget is about to have her baby and my Monday Passover prep is only half done, so I really have to go. See you soon, friends.