version (1) ending

Imagine you’re sitting around a table.

 

The best tablecloth, the best china is on the table;

There are flowers and candles.

 

It is the end of winter, the beginning of spring.

The sun has set; a very busy day is over.

It is Friday night.

 

* * * * *

 

Now, in imagination, step back a little, to earlier in the day.

Whatever your occupation, you’ve been working hard—

in paid or unpaid employment, studying, cleaning the house, cooking…

 

Out there in the world, perhaps you don’t fit in.

 

Think of a time you were made to feel odd or unwanted or unworthy.

Perhaps because of what you believe, how you look, how you behave—

who you are.

 

In some way, for whatever reason, imagine life for you is unsafe.

Your family may be stigmatised or threatened,

Your lifestyle unwelcome in what was your community.

 

Perhaps this is your experience, or the memories are from your parents’ or grandparents’ lives.

 

 

* * * * *

 

And now, light the candles!

 

Here you are again, around the table

with family and friends,

in relative safety, among your own people.

 

There is food—plain food:

unleavened bread, lettuce and herbs, roast lamb, fruit sauce, a roasted egg.

There are dishes containing salt water for dipping,

Glasses of wine; wine and water for the children.

 

The leader may be wearing a white robe;

perhaps he or she sits on a pillow.

Breaking in half three pieces of unleavened bread the leader sets one half aside, and holding up the remaining pieces, says:

 

“This is the poor bread that our ancestors ate in Egypt…”

 

Now the youngest child asks:

“Why is this night different from all other nights?”

 

And the leader tells the story of Exodus and Passover.

 

 

 

The meal, the liturgy, continues;

The wine is drunk, the food eaten;

the door opened to imaginatively greet Elijah the Prophet.

 

Everyone praises God and sings closing songs

And the leader ends the liturgy, saying

 

“Next year in Jerusalem!”


 

© Bronwyn Angela White (2002)—Wellington, New Zealand

This work by BronwynAngelaWhite is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

 

version (2) ending

Feast in the wilderness

Imagine you’re sitting around a table.

The best tablecloth, the best china is on the table.  There are flowers and candles.  It’s the end of winter, the beginning of spring.  The sun has set; a very busy day is over.  It is Friday night.

Now, in imagination, step back a little, to earlier in the day.  Whatever your occupation, you’ve been working hard—in paid or unpaid employment, studying, cleaning the house, cooking…

Out there in the world, perhaps you don’t fit in.

Think of a time you were made to feel odd or unwanted or unworthy.  Perhaps because of what you believe, how you look, how you behave—who you are.  In some way, for whatever reason, imagine life for you is unsafe.  Your family may be stigmatised or threatened, your lifestyle unwelcome in what was your community.

Perhaps this is your experience, or memories from your parents’ or grandparents’ lives.

 

And now, light the candles!  Here you are again, around the table with family and friends, in relative safety, among your own people.

There is food—plain food: unleavened bread, lettuce and herbs, roast lamb, fruit sauce, a roasted egg.  There are dishes containing salt water for dipping, glasses of wine; wine and water for the children.  The leader may be wearing a white robe; perhaps he or she sits on a pillow. 

Breaking in half three pieces of unleavened bread the leader sets one half aside, and holding up the remaining pieces, says, “This is the poor bread that our ancestors ate in Egypt…”

Now the youngest child asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” and the leader tells the story of Exodus and Passover.

The meal, the liturgy, continues.  Wine is drunk, food eaten, the door opened to imaginatively greet Elijah the Prophet.  Everyone praises God and sings closing songs.  And the leader ends the liturgy, saying, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

 

Imagine you’re at a table.

You may be in company or alone.  Recall the comfort of shaking off dust and bathing your feet, refreshing your wrists in cool water.

You might perch on a camp stool or lounge on soft cushions.  You could feast on manna from heaven or still be gnawing on the poor bread of your ancestors.

Does water gush from the rock, or do you still hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Is your throat too dry to croak out the Lord’s song in a strange land, or do you sing and dance on the far shore of Jordan?

Are you a light on the way, leaven in the bread?

 

The sun is setting at the end of a busy day.  For now, you are safe.  There are flowers on the table—exotic blooms or wildflowers from the path.  It may be a night like other nights or a rare, Sabbath rest.

Drink the water or wine.
Smell the everyday, mysterious bread, symbol of liberation and test.
Eat it, all.
Consider the year ahead.  Are you near journey’s end?

 

Do you recognise the Promised Land?


© Bronwyn Angela White (2002, 2008)—Wellington, New Zealand

This work by BronwynAngelaWhite is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License