To celebrate well, we must plan to celebrate.
Weddings, birthday parties, graduations; baby or building dedications, grand openings, awards ceremonies; all require weeks or months of planning. We brainstorm, research, make reservations, recruit friends to help or hire event planners.
Easter is next month! Would you be willing to do some planning to make your family’s Easter experience memorable? What about investing in making your church’s celebration a really big deal?
Preparing for Easter is both personal and corporate. We start by paying attention to our own hearts; focus on what Jesus did for you alone by reading devotionals like the ones I recommended last week. Prepare your home to reflect the season and your faith with ideas I wrote about here. But we can also invest in our churches; helping the church staff, who are always busy in this season, can make Resurrection Sunday a celebration like no other at your church.
Here are a few ideas for your own heart preparation and for your church.
1. Make an Easter playlist for yourself or your family of your favorite hymns and songs that focus on the cross and the Resurrection. Interestingly, in other countries Christians don’t play Easter music until after Resurrection Sunday. They reserve it for the actual day of Easter’s celebration and then listen in the weeks after Easter to keep the joy fresh and alive.
Choose the music that sets the mood for you. We have a playlist here. Or check out musician Andrew Peterson for some good ideas for song options. Listen for yourself and your family in the weeks before and after Easter.
But especially on Easter Sunday, play your favorite Easter songs all day in your home and during your planned celebrations. I encourage you to respond to the miracle of the Resurrection with feasting and with exuberant dancing, clapping, or singing together. Easter is a day to party like no other!
2. Help your church make Easter Sunday memorable. Start by understanding that most churches have made their Easter plans months prior. Walking in at this point with grand ideas might not be well received if it feels like more work for them. So begin by deciding who to talk to and then ask that person, probably not the pastor at first, what has been planned already. Ask if they need help with what is already in the works.
Then once you have heard from them you can propose your ideas. And always bring your ideas with plans for how they can be accomplished already worked out. Pastors and their staff are frequently inundated with a thousand ideas for changes and new ideas from members but rarely do the ideas come with “How can I help?” attached. And if there’s not any time to implement your idea this year, try again next year … but earlier.
To get you started on ideas for your church here is one that’s not too complicated.
A good friend of mine, Andrea, a pastor’s wife, said Easter at their church is a grand party. They shoot confetti cannons and encourage all the members to bring bells to ring and banners to wave to enhance the celebration. One year they even gave everyone a cake pop as a party favor on the way out of the service.
Would you be the one willing to organize some volunteers and talk with your pastor about how you can throw a big Easter Sunday party at your church too?
Easter Sunday is a great day for believers to celebrate collectively all over the world. But more importantly, it is a day for us to declare to the world that Jesus is alive! If we make much of Jesus, if we celebrate publicly, noticeably, and joyfully in such a way that those who don’t know him watch and wonder, might our day be a witness to the world?
Truly, Easter should be an enormous celebration.
Join us this year in honoring Christ’s sacrifice and His Resurrection with exceptional merriment. May this Sunday be unlike any other in the church calendar all year long.
What do you do for Easter? What does your church do? We’d love to hear from you … just leave a comment at the end of this post.
1 thought on “Anticipating Easter: Tune Your Hearts to Worship”
Part of what led us to become Anglican’s later in life was the incredibly symbolic ways in which the events of the liturgical church calendar are celebrated. And none quite compare to Holy Week. Beginning on Maundy Thursday we have a foot washing and last supper service. On Good Friday we do an outside prayer walk through the stations of the cross with special music and prayers. Then we also have a very meaningful Good Friday service with many symbolic events including draping the cross, repentance and prayer at the cross as well as stripping the Eucharistic table/altar. On Holy Saturday we begin the great vigil with a variety of dramatic readings or acted out portrayals of an extensive series of scripture passages that all point to the biblical story of redemption from Genesis forward, interspersed with reflective worship. Many will stay and pray all night in preparation for the sunrise service celebration of eastern morning. It is quite a week of repentance and then remembrance of Christ’s sacrificial and atoning death for us and then an incredible celebration of His resurrection.