Our Passover Seder was our least attended Seder in many years. We had 50+ reservations, which normally translate into 100-120 people, that show up, but this year we had 66 people come to our Seder. Needless to say we had tons of food left over, and spent much more than we needed to. As we begin the process of deconstructing the Seder and planning for next year, the inevitable questions arise, “Have we worn out our welcome here in St. Louis, or at least worn out the Church for there to be such a response?” “Shall we take a year or two off before doing this again?”
For as much work as the Seder is, it is always tempting to want to do a small, familial gathering here in our own space, with just our family. But then I am quick to admit that of the 66 that attended our Seder, 26 were first-timers. And two families who attended this year, and have attended before, told me that our Seder is part of their family tradition at Passover time. So what are we to do? When all is said and done, I know that we are blessed to celebrate Passover the way we do, and many are blessed to attend.
And the true blessing of the Passover Seder is that we so often get to share the gospel with Jewish people in a way that is truly unique and part of their culture. We had Jewish guests in nearly every Seder that I led this season, and I am so thankful that people in the churches where I go feel comfortable enough to invite their Jewish friends to experience Jesus in the Passover Seder.
This year is a special year for us, too. I turned 20 this year, and our congregation turns 13 while Lutherans in Jewish Evangelism turns 30. Twenty years ago I came to faith in Y’shua, and joined the church on April 15, 1991 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Denver. Soon after, I began volunteering for Menorah Ministries in Denver, working to share the gospel with Jewish students on the campus of the University of Colorado at Denver. And later that year I began teaching at St. John’s Lutheran School. It was the beginning of a most wonderful life, in Christ, and I have you to thank for allowing me to continue in ministry to the end that we can celebrate the coming of age of our congregation and ministry. On April 18, our congregation celebrates its 13th anniversary. Time for a Bar-Mitzvah?