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Hillcrest Covenant will celebrate Lent, ties to Passover with Seder meal

While many people will be feasting on corn beef and cabbage Sunday in a tradition that dates back hundreds of years, Steve Larson and his congregation will partake in a celebration with origins going back thousands of years. 

As St. Patrick’s Day festivities sweep the area this weekend, Larson and the Hillcrest Covenant Church will host a Seder meal starting at 4 p.m. Sunday to reflect on the Lenten season and the Jewish roots that served as a foundation of the Christian faith. 

“The last time we did this celebration was several years ago,” Larson said. “But we really wanted to emphasize the Lenten season this year and thought this would be a good way to reflect.”

Lent is the 46-day season to reflect and prepare for Good Friday and Easter. Larson said the Seder meal would serve as an important reminder of the Last Supper and its importance in the church. 

Seder meals are one of the staples in the Jewish tradition as it celebrates the Passover – the liberation of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. But it also can play an important role in the Christian faith, Larson said, noting it provides a history of the beginning of the faith and context for the communion tradition. 

One of the most important events in Christian faith is Maundy Thursday where Jesus celebrated the Passover for the last time with his disciples. It was at the Last Supper where Jesus started the communion tradition. 

“It gives us more depth to a tradition already deeply rooted in most churches,” Larson said. “We should always take time to reflect and understand where our faith comes from.”

The celebration will include many of the traditional Seder foods during a feast in the middle of the service. Larson said the service would start at 4 p.m. with Old Testament readings from Exodus, prayers and songs. The feast would then take place and feature food such as lamb, egg and haroset. 

Larson said each food item has a connection to the Exodus story. For example, the haroset – a mixture of nuts, apples, cinnamon and sugar – looks like the clay the Jewish people had to use to make bricks and signifies the sweetness of liberation, Larson said. 

After the meal, the service will conclude with bread and wine in the communion tradition.

“The Passover really just celebrates the liberation ... but we want to look at how the Seder was part of Jesus’ whole life,” Larson said. 

The event is expected to last until 7:30 p.m. and will take place at the Hillcrest Covenant Church at 1515 N. First St. in DeKalb. Larson said he expects about 50 people at the ceremony, but it is open to the community. He said those interested should call the church today at 815-756-5508 to reserve a spot. 

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