On Monday afternoon I celebrated the Passover with out First Communicants in their classroom. We had lamb and unleavened bread, Shloer for red wine, mint, horseradish and sweet apple chutney, parsley and salt water, hats to cover our heads and candles for our Passover table.
Its was a lovely joyful celebration and the children who were well prepared enjoyed it immensely.
And at the heart of the Passover is a meal and a story. And of course all the best stories are told at table among friends and family. For it is there we tell the stories of our lives as we eat and drink together.
God too tells the story of salvation at a meal at both the Passover and the Last Supper And for our First Communicants it was important for them to understand that, as they prepare for their big day in May when they will receive our Lord for the first time in Holy Communion.
But food, children and stories are a happy combination and as we worked our way through the Passover meal the children understood immediately all the connections.
How God saved his people when the angel of death passed over their homes because they marked the doorpost and lintels with the blood of the Passover lamb. They understood that Christ too is our Paschal lamb and that by his sacrifice on the cross he has saved us from eternal death.
The unleavened bread which we broke and ate in our Passover symbolized for the Jews the bread that God rained down on his people when they were in desert.
But the children saw that Jesus too is the bread of heaven, which brings life to us in the Eucharist. For in the bread of the Eucharist the children understood that Jesus gives us himself. Just as he would give himself completely on Good Friday.
Our children and young people are fundamentally important. In the original celebration of the Passover they played an essential role in the retelling of the story. It was they who asked the question why is this night different from any other night. For us too the children and young people are at the very centre and heart of the church because what we do tonight is not Passover them but as St Paul tells us pass on to them.
When Paul narrates the institution of the Eucharist he is at pains to state this is what I received and in turn pass on to you that on the night he was betrayed he took bread.
The whole of our Christian life must be about passing on: passing on to our young people the faith and love of God that lies in all our hearts. Our friendship, devotion and love for Christ. For only in him do we find the one hope that never disappoints; the reason and purpose of life.