An orange represents the radical nature of Seder and thus can also indirectly illuminate the radical nature of our Holy Communion.
When our Jewish friends celebrate Passover all aspects of their Seder feast become allegories telling the story of liberation from slavery. Directly in the Bible we hear about the significance of the Passover lamb and hear explanation of the unleavened bread matzoth.
Then after the fall of the Temple and through the Medieval times the Seder feast was developed further. Each part plays some role and has some meaning. Maror and Chazeret are two types of bitter herbs reminding of the bitterness and harshness of the slavery. Karpas is a vegetable which is dipped into salt water or vinegar and representing the tears of slavery. Charoset is a brownish part of apples, raisins and nuts standing for the building materials used for slave labor in Egypt.
And then in the 1980s an orange, Tapuz, was added by Dr. Susannah Heschel. She protested prejudice against Lesbian and gay members. She picked an orange for its sweetness and fruitfulness to represent LGBTQIA contributions to their communities of faith. And if the orange has seeds even the act of spitting seeds represents spitting out, rejecting, prejudice which narrows minds and attempts to limit divine grace.
Our Christian tradition of Holy Communion, Eucharist, came exactly from the same source of the Passover feast. Jesus’ last supper was very likely a celebration of the Passover feat. In gospels you can make out some early aspects of the pointing and storytelling of when Jesus takes bread and explains and afterwards also the cup.
The Passover feast (Seder) is a remembrance and actualization of the liberation from slavery. In our Christian permutation it became a radical program of God’s new kingdom in which no one will be enslaved by any injustice or prejudice, in which no one will be hungry and all will share freely in a radically new community. Every time we celebrate communion we enact liberation from slavery and envision Jesus’ new kingdom and the orange (Tapuz) is a beautiful reminder of its radical nature.
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