Imagine the street outside your home filled with laughing, playing children, the mouth-watering aroma of rich food being cooked over a fire wafting through your window, redolent with the heavy incense of blossoms, cedar, and spices. You look outside and see that a tumble of huts made from leafy, flowering branches has filled every outside space possible.

Excitement is in the air.

There is an indefinable sense of hope, anticipation, open joy, and you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just know it is going to be a glorious day.

That is how it was, over twenty centuries ago, as Jesus’ mother Mary, His disciples, and the rest of His closest friends and followers gathered in Mark’s home at Pentecost. It had been fifty days since the Passover, when Jesus had died, and now it was the time of Sukkot, Israel’s favorite festival. Before His death, Jesus had given His final words of encouragement, teaching, and prophetic exhortation to His beloved followers, saying

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

John 13:34 (NRSV)
Painting of a feast / Early Christian catacomb of San Callisto (Saint Calixte Catacomb) / 3rd century / Paleochristian art. | By Anonymous , Public Domain,

After His resurrection, the Lord had spent over a month teaching them the whole of the scriptures. When He had left them that final time, rising up into heaven, Jesus had asked them to wait in Jerusalem for a sign from Him, with no idea what that sign would be. He had reassured them they would know it when it came. Now, they had been praying together in this room ever since.

What happened next was so explosive, so earth-rocking, the world has never been the same since.

At its birth, the church was a group of 120 Jewish people receiving the Holy Spirit in a cataclysmic event, the compression waves of which would reverberate across space and time.

For on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 faithful Jews who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks—thanksgiving for the first harvest—now became the Holy Spirit’s First Harvest of many to come.

By GualdimG – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The early church took the Lord’s words to heart.

In those first days, Luke recorded,

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 2:42 (NRSV)

They called these meals “Love Feasts,” in honor of Jesus Who loved them, and Who told them everyone would know they were His disciples by their own love for Him and each other.

Bethania, NC. Moravian Love Feast at Easter. ©Will & Deni McIntyre | CC BY-SA 4.0

The deep significance of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are found in the Passover.

I wanted our children to understand that deep significance, to experience something of what the Passover meant, and to understand Who Jesus was as the Lamb Who would take away the sins of the world. Thus began a nearly 30-year time of study, research, discovery, and tinkering with the many Passover services now celebrated in both Jewish, and Messianic Jewish, households today. I discovered there is evidence in the book of Acts that the 1st century church enjoyed a modified version of the Passover Seder in their weekly gatherings, often calling it a “Love Feast.”

Love Feast,” the fruit of all those years of study and celebration, follows the First Passover to the Last Supper, into the Love Feast Jesus has for us all. I put together a haggadah (according to the dictionary, a haggadah is “the text recited at the Seder on the first two nights of the Jewish Passover, including a narrative of the Exodus”) which incorporates the gospel accounts of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples, as well as explanations for some key elements in the Passover itself, as it is observed today.

The traditional Passover goes long into the night. This haggadah has been modified so that families with children of all ages (like mine) can take part, lasting about an hour and a half (including dinner and dancing). “Love Feast” includes everything you will need to hold your own Passover Seder—order and flow of the worship service, songs, a menu, a list of items you will need, and speaking parts. It concludes with some thoughts on the First Passover, the Last Supper, and our legacy in the Love Feasts of the Bible.

May we continue what the early church began!

4 thoughts on “Celebrate the Love Feast During Lent

  1. Joanne thank you for your insights about the Love Feast we should keep and it’s importance continually not only outwardly but more so inwardly from the Heart. May I be allowed to go deeper into the reality hole and share deeper inspired understanding. To start with Joanne their are Two Suppers we need to look at; the first and most important Supper is the Bethany Supper of Resurrection and the Anointing at the house of Simon the Leper. The second supper is the last Passover supper of the Old Covenant and it was so because Jesus had fulfilled all of the 10 commandments and because so gave the New Covenant Commandment as you stated above, Love on another even as I have LOVED You. To prove the Importance of the Bethany Supper Please read for your self Mark 14:1-9 and Matthew 26:6-13 and take note verse 13 in Matthew and verse 9 in Mark as you read. It states the true Gospel of Anointing for resurrection by Mary would be preached throughout the entire world as a memorial unto her. Now may I ask you have you ever heard a message in any Church telling Her Story. Once you dig into the Bethany story with prayerful meditation you will be over joyed. Joanne did you know Bethany means House of Figs and that the Fig is the only fruit that blossoms from the inside out because of a very special wasp process of laying eggs. Joanne I suggest to you the upper room in Act’s was the Bethany House of Simon, Martha and Mary and Lazarus where the inner Spiritual Family meet continually for Prayer. Read Act’s 12:12 where even Peter went immediately after being released from prison. Simon the Leper was also Simon the Pharisees and Nicodemus the Ruler of the Tribe of Benjamin who was on the Sanhedrin council on the behalf of the Tribe of Benjamin. Bethany is the Story of Resurrection and the Anointing and that is what Spiritually is all about is it not. Old Covenant death is One Thing but New Covenant Life is something Far Greater would you agree. To me the Lords Supper Should take place every Day of every week because it is a communion one on one ; face to face; Thought to Thought with the One who Loves you Most the Lord Himself. Out of Communion we get Communication in common Unity and have Common Wealth with each other. What a fantastic Meal so many miss out on and just think we as Gods People can sit down and enjoy Fellowship when ever we choose. No certain Day, no certain place and no ritual needed only a desire for intimacy needed first with Our Lord and then with each other when ever possible where ever possible. There is so much more about the Communion in Spirit and truth to share but maybe another time. Thank you again for allowing me to Comment and may we Grow in all Spiritual Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding as the Spirit of Holiness Blesses us with Divine Truth. AMEN

    1. Thsnk you for sharing these thoughts on Jesus being anointed by Mary at the the supper for Simon the Leper and Lazarus. Simon, because of his healing from leprosy, had experienced his own kind of resurrection, as leprosy was a sentence of death in his day, and certainly a life of exile.

      Amen, Mary of Bethany’s story is to always be told along with the Gospel. I told her story on my YouTube channel, here

  2. Joanne just a few more thoughts about Simon the Leper most people do not know. Simon was the first Man healed in Mark’s Gospel who Jesus healed of Leprosy because of compassion as recorded in Mark 1:40-44. And John Mark was also Simon’s Son who was the Young Rich Ruler in Mark 10:17-22. John Mark was the stand in Ruler seated on the Sanhedrin Council for His Father Simon also known as Nicodemus the Ruler of the Jews in John Chapter 3. He was a Stand in because of his Father’s being a Leopard. The Character Name Nicodemus means conqueror of the populace because He was the Chief Ruler Seated on the Sanhedrin for the Tribe of Benjamin the Light Bearer Tribe of the Jews. In John 12:4 it also say’s Judas Iscariot was also the Son of Simon. John Mark was also known as Lazarus the Disciple Jesus Loved. John Mark Lazarus was the Author of Mark the First Gospel written around 55 A.D. He also wrote 1st & 2nd & 3rd John and the Revelation. When you understand the Bethany Family and the Anointing Supper of Resurrection = The Love Feast Meal things start to become clear. Also Nathanael of John 1:43-51 is John Mark Lazarus because the title Character Name Nathanael means given of GOD and Both Simon the Leper and John Mark Lazarus One of his Sons and the Bethany Family received Grace and Compassion as Benjaminites . Benjamin was the only Blessed true Brother of Joseph who was a type of Jesus and Benjamin was His True Born Brother through Rachael Jacobs Beloved Wife. That is why the tribe of Benjanin is so important in the Bible both Old and New Testaments. Just things to consider as you Prayerfully Meditate on what is Written. Grace, Faith. Hope and Charity to you again AMEN

    1. You bring in some remarkable historical material about John Mark, Lazarus, Nicodemus, and Nathanael that I am not familiar with. I would be very interested in reading your sources–please, could you send me the titles or the links? Grace and peace to you

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