The script that my kids and I used tonight at our Passover Supper at MacAlpine Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York is below. My daughter read the part of the youngest child and my son read the part of the boy Jesus. I read the part of the leader, which would’ve been their father Joseph.
In traditional Jewish family observances, the children are essential to the Passover celebration, for it is through this feast that they may learn of God’s redemptive nature. The youngest child usually has the privilege of asking the questions. Since Jesus was the oldest child in his family, my son is going to play the part of Jesus who will say some lines that make his brothers and sisters annoyed. Do you remember the story of Joseph in Genesis who told his brothers his dreams and they hated him for it? He told them that he had a dream that they were binding sheaves in the field and behold his sheaf arose and stood upright and their sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to it. And they said, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” And they hated him for it. Then he told them another dream where the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down him. The sun and moon representing his parents and the eleven stars representing his brothers. His father asked, “Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you? And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.” The phrase that his father kept the saying in mind reminds me of Mary treasuring up words she had heard about the baby Jesus in her heart. But back in Genesis Joseph’s brothers out of jealousy were going to kill him and instead sold him off into slavery in Egypt and went back and implied to their father that a wild animal had torn his son to pieces. While in Egypt, Joseph was humiliated even more but then he had a reversal of fortunes – a resurrection from the pit, so to speak, and he rose to become the most powerful man in the country. And eventually his father and brothers did bow to him. Four hundred years later a Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph and who enslaved the Hebrew people.
Youngest Child: Why is this night different from all other nights?
Leader: This night is different from all other nights, for on this night we celebrate one of the most important events in the history of the world: Once we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord, in his goodness and mercy, redeemed us from that land with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Had He not redeemed us, surely we, and our children, and our children’s children would still be enslaved.
Boy Jesus: “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”1
Youngest Child: On all other nights we eat either leavened or unleavened bread; on this night, why do we eat only unleavened bread?
Leader: We eat the unleavened bread to remember that the sons of Israel, in their haste to leave Egypt, had no time to let their bread rise before they baked it to take with them. They baked it anyway, into flat unleavened bread.
Boy Jesus: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”2
Youngest Child: On all other nights, we eat herbs of every kind; on this night, why do we eat bitter herbs?
Leader: We eat bitter herbs to remember how bitter it is to be enslaved.
Boy Jesus: “Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”3
Youngest Child: On all other nights we usually don’t dip one food into another. At our Seder, we dip the parsley into salt water and the bitter horseradish into the charoset. Why do we dip foods twice tonight?
Leader: We dip the parsley into salt water because it reminds us of the greenery that comes to life in the springtime, but the salt water reminds that sometimes life is immersed in tears as it was for our forefather. We dip the bitter herbs into the sweet charoset as a sign of hope; our ancestors were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery, because it was sweetened by the hope of freedom. By dipping, we remember that even the harshest bondage is sweetened by the promise of redemption. You ask many good questions! It is written in the Bible: “And you shall tell your son and daughter in that day, saying, ‘This is done because of what the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.'” (Exodus 13:8)
Boy Jesus: “I am the resurrection and the life.”4
After the reading from Exodus 12:1-27, we shifted to New Testament readings with this:
The boy Jesus has now grown up. So let me continue the story as Jesus, [stretching out hands toward the congregation] “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt 12:50). You ask, “What do I mean by this service?” You have heard it said of me, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). I say to you, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9).”