Celebrating Easter while Sheltering in Place
With Easter quickly approaching we want to give you a few ways to celebrate the resurrection while social distancing. In a time of loneliness, sobriety, and uncertainty, the people of God have a unique mandate to celebrate the risen Christ. Easter falls at a perfect time. Victory over the grave is exactly the message that a weary, heavy-hearted world needs to hear, and perhaps one that we ourselves need to be reminded of most of all.
As we consider how the Lord wants us to celebrate Him, let’s invite the Holy Spirit, the creative one who is always innovating.
Holy Spirit, as we look forward to the passion week we prepare our hearts to encounter the story again. We accept this season for what it is. We have not chosen these circumstances, but we surrender ourselves to you, knowing that you are working in the midst of the trials we experience. Surely, Father, you want to lead us to celebrate your Son and the victory He’s won for us. We ask you now to speak to us, give us ideas, and help us honor you and our neighbors on Easter day. May our demonstrations of joy and hope be a prophetic sign to a hurting world.
- Chalk Walk - Use your driveway or sidewalk to spread the love. Share scriptures and uplifting messages to all the walkers who are eager to be outside. With permission of neighbors you could tackle the entire block and share hope and happiness every few hundred feet. (Share pictures with #chalkyourwalk)
- Remember the Persecuted - Across the world there are individuals and families living in persecution. They celebrate the resurrection quietly, in small ways every year. As an act of solidarity, join in a humble Easter celebration. Get up early and light a candle. Read the Easter story (John 20:1-18). Reflect on the joy of your salvation, when Jesus rescued you from sin. Thank him for his sacrifice and receive a fresh outpouring of his love and power in your heart. Perhaps you want to take communion. Then pray for those who are persecuted. Join with them in worship (song, or silent meditation of scripture). Here are the top 10 nations where Christians experience persecution.
North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, India
- Porch/Balcony Worship - On Easter morning bring the kids outside, set out some blankets and patio furniture. Bring out the guitar (or your Youtube playing device) and lift your voices in worship. If you’ve got neighbors who you think may want to join in, text them the “set list” beforehand so they can participate, from a healthy distance of course.
- Invite them Over - Virtually, that is. As a church family we know we’ll be seeing one another virtually on Easter day. Many believers, though, may not have an easy on-ramp to interactive worship, prayer, and devotion in their home. Send your zoom link out via text or social media platforms where your neighbors will see it. Put it in chalk a few days before Easter Sunday. Call or snail mail your neighbors and friends to include them!
- Get in the Spirit - Celebrate in an extravagant way. Decorate your car, home, and lawn with life and color. What do you think happened in the hearts of the disciples when they grabbed hold of the risen Jesus? Explosive cheers, weeping, jumping, clapping and hugging. Let the overflow of your heart blanket your apartment, home, and property. Streamers, balloons, garland, lights (who says they’re only for Christmas?!). Get the kids to join in and explain that we’re holding nothing back to celebrate Jesus. Use whatever you can find!
- Regional Outdoor Prayer Space - You may have an open space nearby where you’ve found solace. Maybe a quiet trail, an empty parking lot or an open greenspace. With the other believers in your region, organize an on sight prayer rotation.
-If it’s a trail you can have people sign up for 30 or 60 minute walks, taking shifts so as to maintain social distancing. Have a core scripture that you pray from as you walk. For example, John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in my will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.’” Pray for those who are afraid, Ask the Lord to give faith and revelation of Jesus’ victory over death.
-If you have an outdoor spot (a bench, a park, the steps of neighborhood elementary, etc) invite people to sit for 30 minutes and pray for their region. Remember to organize slots to make sure people are not showing up at the same time. You can get creative with how and what you pray as the Spirit leads!
- Take Communion - In a time of sickness and infection Easter is a day to remember that Jesus is our great Healer. As you reflect on His body broken for you and his blood poured out, pray for those who are suffering. Pray for the doctors and nurses who are putting themselves at risk to serve others. Pray for healing, comfort, and divine love poured out on those suffering with a positive diagnosis. Pray for those who are grieving and invite the Lord to demonstrate his manifest presence in their homes.
- Light a Candle - Each night light a candle and place it in your window as a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the world. Pray for those who are suffering and ask Jesus to light up their darkness. Let the children lead a simple declaration prayer, “Jesus, you are the light. Come and make the darkness bright with your love.” See #candleofhope on social media to see other candles being lit all over the world and post your picture.