As states of emergency are increasingly declared in our own country and jurisdictions around the world, in an escalation of efforts to contain the global COVID-19 pandemic and stunt its spread, people are told not to gather for church services, or any social events, to stay at home, and to keep a 6 foot separation from anyone when picking up essentials. Consequently, many church brethren are wondering what to do concerning keeping the upcoming Passover Service as is customary with their church groups and/or congregations.
Romans 13:1-5 clearly states that we are to obey those in power in our country.
So the question is, what do we do about the New Covenant Passover Service that we partake of at this time of year? Some may do a virtual service, but what about those who can't? Is it acceptable for a couple of individuals, or a single individual, to do the Passover Service in their home? The answer is, yes. Passover has always been a domestic Feast. Now is the perfect time for us to re-examine the subject.
As mentioned already Passover has always been a domestic Feast, kept in peoples' homes within families. This is evidenced in the first Passover instruction given in Exodus 12. Also, Christ himself kept His last Passover in a home.
It was kept by ancient Israel, and is still kept by many in Judah to this day.
It involved the slaying of a year old lamb, shedding its blood, putting the blood on the door post of the house, cooking and eating the entire lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. All these symbols pointed to the coming of the true Passover Lamb, the Son of God.
Once the true Passover Lamb came, and was slain, there was no more need to keep these old symbols that pointed to His coming and His sacrifice. Consequently, the symbols were changed to represent and memorialize the true Passover Lamb, who was slain for our sins, and the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
It was in the home of John Mark's family in Jerusalem that Christ kept the last Old Covenant Passover, and it was in this family setting with His disciples that He instituted the new symbols of The New Covenant Passover. These new symbols are the ones we keep today. We observe this New Covenant Passover Memorial once a year on the anniversary of the momentous event of the sacrifice of the Son of God.
Paul speaks of this memorial. 1 Corinthians 10:16 "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not participation/partnership in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not participation/partnership in the body of Christ."
Some teach that Christ's parting words to his disciples, recorded in John 14 - John 17, are the words of the New Covenant, but this is not the case. These parting words of Christ are powerful and emotional, but are his final recorded words to his beloved followers prior to His imminent death. He had already stated the New Covenant, Matthew 26:28; Mark 14: 24; Luke 22:20.
Taking the New Covenant Passover in our own homes is perfectly fine. God has allowed for everything. Not meeting together for the usual Passover Service is not disobeying God, as some fear, but rather just a departure from what is usual and comfortable.
Once we realize this New Covenant is between ourselves and God, and understand the full magnitude of the sacrifice of the Son of God on our behalf, all sense of fear and anxiety disappear and is replaced with awe, humility, complete and total gratitude and peace.
It is important to remember always that it is not the location, or whether we meet in a group that matters, but that we keep this Memorial with the honour and respect it truly deserves. The sacrifice of the Son of God is the most awesome event that has ever happened in the history of the world.
We must worship God in spirit and in truth. Remember in John 4:21-24, what the woman at the well said to Christ about where they believed was the right place to worship God, and Christ's words to her, "...the hour comes and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
We most certainly can partake of the New Covenant symbols in our homes, either with family members, or alone. It was never meant to be a public demonstration to others.The only public demonstration should be the way we live.
Some wonder about foot washing as part of the service. It is of interest that only the apostle John records this event. This makes perfect sense that John would be the one to record it. He is known as the apostle of love. John, in particular continually emphasizes the need for us to love one another, and he, more than any other, records the words of Christ that we must love one another.
This washing of the disciples feet by our Lord is a demonstration and lesson in the love and humility that we are to have for each other. He used this to show us that we ought to love and serve one another in this same manner as He had done, in humility and love. In the culture of that time washing the guests feet when they entered the house was considered the lowliest job and was given to the lowest servant. In doing this, our Lord and Master was showing us the attitude we should have toward one another.
At this time, due to the command to practice physical distancing, we are not able to demonstrate this attitude by actually washing someone's feet, but we have a whole year to actually serve each other in love and humility.
It is with certainty that God foresaw all that is happening in these perilous times that we find ourselves living in today, and has made a way for us to keep the Memorial of the New Covenant Passover instituted by His Son.
Let us do as the apostle Peter instructs:
And conclude with the words of the apostle Paul: