We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's really a holdover from the Judaic Passover tradition. Yes, we refer to Christ as the Lamb of God, sacrificed for the redemption of the world. However, the deeper root is the "passing over" of Jewish homes by the Angel of Death, dispatched by God to slay the firstborn sons of the Egyptians who'd enslaved them. The angel was warned away from Jewish homes by the lamb's blood smeared on their doors: a sign that they were the oppressed rather than the oppressors.
Several important Christian traditions are at least partly derived from Judaic ones. For example, consider the Communion foods: unleavened bread and watered wine, of the sort that were probably served at the Last Supper. It's well to remember that Christ was born of a Jewish mother, and so was a Jew Himself!
Francis W. Porretto
Of course He was!
Our church had Passover dinner, in silence and prayer, Thursday night. Bitter herbs and all. No real wine, though.
The silence part is not at all Jewish - in fact there is a text for the Passover meal whose oldest parts date back to the declaration recited when Jews brought springtime's first fruits to the Temple the day after the Pascal sacrifice (Deuteronomy 26) and includes homilies and hymns that were part of the meal eaten by pilgrims to Jerusalem. It's called the Haggada - which literally means "the telling over" and it emphasizes open dialog between young and old.
Silence.... Not a Jewish thing....
Non-Jews and non-religious Jews are usually astounded the first time they visit an Orthodox Jewish seminary - most of the morning is spent preparing the texts set for the lecture by arguing it out with a study partner. The noise level is the farthest thing from monastic/academic decorum....
"Non-Jews and non-religious Jews are usually astounded the first time they visit an Orthodox Jewish seminary - most of the morning is spent preparing the texts set for the lecture by arguing it out with a study partner."
As a teenager, I had a summer job doing yardwork at the cottage of an Orthodox rabbi for a couple of years (I'm Catholic; I still can't quite remember how I came by the job!). He was a lovely man. When he realized I had a big interest in history, he began inviting me to his study for chats and his wife would serve us hot lemon tea.
I learned that he came to the US and subsequently Toronto, Canada from Poland just before WWII - thus avoiding the fate of more or less everyone else in his family.
He it was that told me: "Get two rabbis in a room and you'll get three arguments."
The Pascal lamb does not indicate martyrdom or victimhood but assertion of identity - the blood iof the lamb ia linked to the blood covenant of circumcision.
It's primarily an explicit rejection of idolatry - Egypt worshipped rams, akin to Hindu "sacred cows". In Genesis, Joseph's shepherd brothers are bit of an embarrassment when they come to Egypt.
In negotiating with Pharaoh, Moses first raises the issue obliquely (Exodus 8:22) - the Jews intend to slaughter sacred rams!
And after all the miracles that is how they assert their independence.
The laws of the pascal sacrifice emphasize this demonstrative nature (Exodus 12:21 etc. ). The lamb is tied up in front of the house for days beforehand (interesting conversations with the neighbors...) It can only be eaten by the circumcised = another blood covenant of Jewish identity. It must be eaten in groups, not in secret, and roasted whole so all can see - and smell - what it is, and any leftovers also burned. A "sweet savor" in the faces of former Egyptian taskmasters.
Many of these rules were preserved in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Almost everything in festivals, including Jewish and Christian, have primitive, pagan origins that have been transcended, raised. People squeal in horror, but frankly, the alternative is no festivals. We are physical, carnal creatures. God reaches down and transforms this into the spiritual. Try to imagine any other way a god could work with humans! What are you going to do, reason with them?
Assistant Village Idiot
While Jesus is the ultimate Passover lamb, it's not like communion at all. It's related, of course. The almost-sacrifice of Issac is a good example.
I suspect that having lamb for Easter is more of a regional custom. No one eats lamb in this part of the country. I would be surprised if 1 out of 10 people I know have even tasted it. I love it, though. I could replace beef with lamb if it wasn't so expensive.