The Herald Bulletin

March 26, 2013

Maundy Thursday service combines religious traditions

By Aaron Ploof
For The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — An Anderson Presbyterian church hopes to connect worshippers with Jewish tradititons during a special Maundy Thursday service.

Ryan Rasmussen, head pastor of First Presbyterian Church, has invited Jon Lieberman, a core member of Chosen People Ministries, to present “Messiah in the Passover” Thursday night.

“Messiah in the Passover” will be presented at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 230 W. Ninth Street.

The church will also host a Good Friday Service at  noon the following day.  The Easter service will take place on Sunday at 10:20 a.m.  

Lieberman’s ministry is a mission of Messianic Jews dedicated to spreading Christ’s word, he said.

The presentation will center around Christ’s Passover meal, the one he shared with his disciples the night before he was crucified.

Both Rasmussen and Lieberman hope the presentation will help local Christian communities understand Jewish traditions and gain a deeper understanding of Christ’s role as the “Passover lamb.”

Lieberman said, “While Jews look back to the Passover as an event to celebrate their freedom from Egyptian slavery, a Christian looks back to the Passover in anticipation of the greatest redemption.”

Chosen People Ministries was founded in 1894 by Leopold Cohn, a Hungarian rabbi who came to believe that Jesus is the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Scriptures.

It was formed in Brooklyn, N.Y. Lieberman has been presenting “Messiah at the Passover” for 25 years.

Lieberman will highlight the symbolic meanings of items Christ presented at the Passover, such as the bread and the cup, and how they symbolize Christ’s shedding of his body and the redeeming blood for Jews and the Gentiles.

Lieberman will explain the concept of the seder in a retelling of the Biblical Passover story and help explain the connection between Judaism and Christianity. At the end of the service, Lieberman will provide opportunity for communion, his own personal testimony.

Rasmussen and Lieberman have joined together  because, they said, they understand the gap between the Jewish traditions of old and current Christian cultural understandings.

“It’s difficult for us to realize what Jesus being a first century Jew means for our faith,” said Rasmussen.