Easter is arguably the most celebrated day of the year for Christians. Churches are usually packed with more people, blooming flowers fill sanctuaries and homes and ornate crosses are on display to celebrate the risen King.
But this Easter season has been marked with an ever-growing sense of absence. Church pews and seats will be vacant, flowers will remain unpicked and the crosses that stake their claim on church lawns will be bare.
And while the seeming ideal of this season is lacking, grace will abound. Here are 10 ways to make the most of Easter in our circumstances:
1. Invite friends to your virtual Easter service.
In some sense, evangelism has never been easier — maybe too easy. We can simply text our friends and send them a link to our virtual Easter service. Consider hosting a digital watch party with your neighbors and friends and have a discussion afterwards.
2. Share your story virtually.
Screen time and social media usage have increased dramatically since the quarantine began. As friends and family skim Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, share the hope of Christ. In honor of what the resurrection secures for us, use this time to share on social media how Jesus has changed your life. Join hundreds of other Southern Baptists with the Who’s Your One initiative by recording and posting a short video (less than 60 seconds), sharing your conversion story with #WY1Easter and #MyStory.
3. Take time to lament.
Lament is a prayer of honest grieving before the Lord without any immediate answer or promise of relief. During Holy Week, it’s easy to sit in the somber reality of Good Friday and rush to the joy of Resurrection Sunday. But for Jesus’ friends, family and followers, Saturday was a time of deep lament, and we’re in a similar season. We’re grieving losses COVID-19 has brought — including Easter services — and at the moment of this writing, we have no immediate sign of relief. On Saturday, sit in the discomfort and the lament of the in-between that Jesus’ followers would have felt on that day.
4. Read the Passion narrative throughout the week and on Easter.
There are a number of Holy Week devotions that can help guide you through the Passion narrative throughout the week and on Easter. But if you have extra time, make your own Holy Week devotional. Be sure to include times of prayer, specific scripture passages to read and guided times of silence and solitude.
5. Have set times of prayer throughout the day.
In a culture that prizes a fast-paced lifestyle of never-ending busyness, we’ve been struck by the way COVID-19 has slowed everything down. On Easter, schedule a morning, afternoon and evening prayer time with your family. Be sure to include things to pray about and Bible verses to read and meditate on during each of the prayer times.
6. Pastors, consider livestreaming your service with a partner church in your area.
The life, death and resurrection of Christ is about celebrating Jesus and what His person and work bought us. His finished work on the cross adopted us into a broad family of other believers. This Easter, consider celebrating virtually with another neighboring church — perhaps even one that is not as equipped to livestream their service.
7. Observe the three hours on Good Friday when Jesus was on the cross.
Jesus was on the cross for three hours before He took His last breath. This moment has been historically observed from noon to 3 p.m. Consider turning off electronics, removing distractions and having a time of silence and solitude within this block of time.
8. Fill your neighborhood with good news.
In a season where bad news seems to get worst with each day, find ways to creatively fill your neighborhood with the good news of the gospel message. Proclaim and celebrate the message of the gospel with sidewalk chalk and pictures, draw or color pictures with your families and hang them in your windows or deliver Easter eggs to your neighbors with kids, like this family (please consult local health officials and doctors to make sure your plans follow state and CDC guidelines).
9. Change your virtual Easter service to include elements you wouldn’t normally have.
Now is a time of innovation and creativity. Including aspects in your Easter service that you may not otherwise have, like personal testimonies, a Q&A session with the pastors and church leaders or a time of extended corporate prayer.
10. Help families worship at home by preparing a home worship guide.
Many families will likely watch their church’s Easter service online, but this is also a great season for families to worship together. Encourage families to worship at home by providing a home worship guide. Here are seven things to consider for home worship gatherings.
Perhaps the shedding of the extravagance will bring us to a simple reminder of the true hope of Easter. While the last few months have brought a lot of bad news, this season we are privileged to celebrate the best news. May we be reminded—and may we proclaim to the world—a hope that supersedes the fear of this present age.
Looking for more resources about how to creatively live missionally in this season? Here’s a collection of tools and articles for responding to COVID-19.
Published April 8, 2020