Forming Faith Blog

The Cross+Gen Story of Passover (October 4, 2020)

Passover is an intergenerational, multisensory celebration that re-enacts one of the central faith stories of Israel.

An intergenerational family sharing a meal together. Passover is also celebrated with an intergenerational meal.

Last week, in our journey through God’s story, we saw Joseph moving the nascent people of Israel into safety in Egypt. Generations later, when a new king rose to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph, Egypt was no longer safe for Jacob’s family. As Joseph had enslaved the people of Egypt for the pharaoh, now the pharaoh has enslaved Joseph’s descendants.

Re-enacting the Story

The exodus from Egyptian slavery became one of the central faith stories of the people of Israel. It is a common descriptor of God:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Exodus 20:2 [The preface to the Ten Commandments]

The exodus is a story that God intends to be a defining story of Israel. God is the God who rescues, and Israel is the people who have been freed. The Passover, then, is the annual reminder of this story, a re-enactment that connects each generation to this defining story. While the Passover celebration doesn’t re-enact the flight itself, it does make an enduring ritual from the meal that preceded this deliverance.

Intergenerational Observance

The Passover observance that is described in these passages of Exodus—and the traditions that have flourished around them—are specifically designed to be family affairs (however one defines their family). The foundation of the observance as instituted in Exodus is a family meal, multiple families, if necessary (Exodus 12:3-4).

As a liturgy attached to a meal, Passover is a physical, multisensory, interpersonal celebration. It engages all your senses with taste, smell, sight, touch, and sound. This naturally multisensory approach engages everyone, regardless of age.

Our Faith Stories

What are our central faith stories, those stories that are a part of our identity? How do we celebrate them? The two biggest celebrations we have during the church year define the central Christian story: the birth (Christmas) and resurrection (Easter) of the One who rescues us. For many, these celebrations also include an intergenerational family (community) feast.

But a communal, intergenerational, multisensory retelling of this story of our Deliverer and Freedom-provider and our own personal faith stories should not be shelved 363 days a year. Within our families and within the greater faith community, we should celebrate God’s story all year round.

Free Resource

The free activity for this week encourages intergenerational small groups or families at home to engage with the story of Passover. In this activity, they create a participatory slideshow—forming still scenes with their bodies—of our passages in Exodus 12 and 13. The “Passover Living Slideshow” comes from our Living the Word: Cross+Gen Education (Narrative Lectionary) curriculum, and is an activity that can be used easily at home, online, or gathered in person.

In God’s love,

Gregory Rawn (Publisher)

Our Faith Formation Resources

Stay updated by liking our Facebook page, subscribe to our e-newsletter, or follow this blog!

Leave a Reply