Posted on: April 3, 2020 Posted by: vufc2 Comments: 0

written by Katie Choi

Easter’s coming—behold, a seeming certainty amid uncertainty!  All next week, we will focus our blog postings and recordings on Easter and the Passion Week.  Passion Week might feel like a formal, strange term, but it’s a more traditional and all-encompassing way to describe the events in the week leading up to Easter.  We’ll have some things you can listen to and some things that might be helpful to you or someone in your life to read.  We hope it is a nice Sabbath during your day-to-day. But still, it might leave you wondering about a very different Easter this year since we won’t be celebrating it in familiar ways.  So, how do we celebrate Easter at home?  This is another area where we, together, are all in uncharted territory.   

Together with my friend, Matt Gordon, we wanted to present some ways our families will observe Easter.  We both have kids so we also wanted to focus on how we can share the story of Jesus with them as well.  Some of this may feel very relevant to you and some of it may not.  Whatever your life circumstances, we hope some of this inspires you or sparks other ideas of ways spend your Easter Sunday. 

  • Easter bunny, baskets, and egg hunt! Remember that game Whack-A-Mole at arcades? These robotic moles would pop up and you’d use a little mallet to, well, whack them, sending them out of sight. Christians sometimes treat everything fun in this world like a game of Whack-A-Mole—beating away happiness with a stick. This is terrible for adults, and even worse for kids. I want my kids to love Jesus—and I want to raise them in a way where, you know, they want to love Him, too. So when holidays come around, I don’t want to pit Jesus against fun things like fanciful bunnies or presents or egg hunts. No, I want to take good things from fun traditions—like imagination or receiving good things or adventure and take them captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Here’s how we’ll do try that this year and in future years:
    • Easter Bunny – Humans are God’s “masterpiece” (Ephesians 2:10), fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in the Image of God (Genesis 1:27). Because we are like God in some ways, we create things — like stories and characters. We crave fun and joy. And the Easter Bunny—like Santa and the Tooth Fairy—are reminders of this special love God has shown us in allowing us to be creative. Also evident in these things is that this world is not enough. We, humans, always desire more and different and better. The Easter Bunny reminds us of that, but also displays that the Bunny cannot fill this need. It hops in one day a year, and leaves just as quickly. It doesn’t speak to pain or loss or shortcomings. It doesn’t heal. And, in the end, it isn’t real. But we can use cultural images, like the Easter Bunny, to connect with others in our culture, while refraining from confusion or idolatry. In short, the Easter Bunny can point to Jesus, the real myth that became fact, became truth. The ever-present help, bringer of good things, who doesn’t hop in and leave, but walks beside us even to the end of the age.
    • Easter baskets – Jesus says that a good father gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11). So, as parents, it is good to give our kids simple, fun things in order to illustrate the truth that God gives good things too. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). That includes the sweetness of flavors in candy or the fun of bouncing a ball up and down. Noble, pure, and good things are not just okay—they can, if our aim is true, be apt worship. They are lovely and beautiful and given by God. And Heaven will not be less of such things, but more of them and the purist version of them. So when my kids get little baskets filled with trinkets and tangible “joys,” it is an opportunity to talk about our Heavenly Father and the good (and Ultimate) gifts He gives.
    • Easter Egg Hunt – Again, this is fun, and creates opportunities to teach or guide children (depending on age). For instance, following the hunt, it would be easy to tell the story of the man who finds a treasure in the field (Matthew 13:44). His hunt gave him the most valuable thing in the world. In the Bible, Jesus says we have the opportunity to seek and to find (Matthew 7:7). What would it be like to find Jesus? What could that mean for us? Questions like these for age-appropriate children can form connections to Scripture and Christ based on happy memories and good things, rather than Jesus getting invoked upon every disappointment in life and in some connection with seriousness and punishment. Instead we are modeling truths like: For there is now no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1), and it is for freedom you’ve been set free (Galatians 5:1).
  • Outdoor time – Easter also means Spring. And Spring means life. These are easy connections to make as you hunt eggs or take a trail walk or have a picnic. First, that God created the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 1:1). Next, that He provides for us and cares for us (Matthew 6:26). Finally, that He embedded into nature itself the story of the gospel—life, fall, death, and then new, fuller life. Easter is a great day to make some memories outside, and then link those memories to something deeper, truer, and eternal.
  • Sunrise – Similar to above, there is something about getting up early on Easter—surely it is the most prominent day for sunrise services? And with this, again, comes the opportunity to talk creation (Psalm 118:24) but also a teaching point about what happened specifically that morning thousands of years ago, and what happens generally each new day: the sun rises, day comes (Romans 13:12); Christ is risen (Matthew 28:6).
  • Reading the Easter Story – Of course, one can get as creative as one wants, but there is something about sitting and sharing the story from the source. This may be the family bible or an app or a children’s bible. But reading about the death and resurrection of Christ, pointing out the sin, the forgiveness, and the victory is a major expression and practice to model (Deut. 6:5-9). Here is where you can find the different accounts of the “Easter story”: Matthew 27 and 28; Mark 15 and 16; Luke 23 and 24; John 19 and 20. It would be wise, as a caretaker, to read through these sections yourself and figure out which ones might be the best ones to highlight with your family. Also, there are some very good versions in various children’s bibles if you have young children.
  • Communion – This can be viewed differently depending on denomination. But, regardless of that, I think one can read about the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30) and model that practice. One way to do this is to pray together and then believers in the family take a piece of bread/cracker or whatever else one has around the house. Since the reflection is on the torture and death and pain of Christ as a man, it is probably insensitive to use Gummy Bears or something of that ilk. A scripture could then be read and/or a song listened to. Then a drink could be passed symbolizing the blood of Christ and what it purchased—righteousness and eternity for God’s people. Paul has a verse that speaks of being sorrowful yet always rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10). That is what I think this time should look like—there is sorrow for sin and for what Christ endured, yet there should be a celebratory air as well: But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death (I Corinthians 15:55-57)!
  • Church – We aren’t to forsake the gathering together to worship God (Hebrews 10:25). It has been a joy that has been present since the early church (Acts 2). Since we can’t safely gather in person, we should find other ways to join together in solidarity and unity with the Body of Christ. This can be done online through a plethora of churches. It can also be done with neighbors in a socially distant way—meaning your situation might provide the opportunity for deck-to-deck worship or a well-spaced driveway or backyard gathering (all within the wise parameters set by our government health officials—small gatherings outdoors with no close contact).
  • Hospitality and Connection – We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves so take that to heart this day as well and do it in a very literal sense by loving your actual neighbors (Mark 12:31).  Do this in a way that is safe and feels right for your family.  Maybe you could take donuts to your neighbors for a fun breakfast surprise.  Or maybe you could take them some flowers.  Or maybe you could write a message on their driveway in chalk.  Extend the love that Christ has given you to others (1 John 4:19).   We also are likely not spending the day with our extended family like we usually would.  That is hard, but there are other ways to show we care and love them.  Mail cards, call them on the phone, FaceTime.  Just make sure they know they are on your heart and your mind.

Enjoy your Easter.  Truly, enjoy it, and make the effort to find joy in the day.  It feels pretty disingenuous to paint a picture where we act like everything is perfect.  We are all struggling in our own ways, but we hope you use this day to appreciate new traditions and the simplicity that being at home can bring.  We are praying with you and for you and wishing you all peace. 

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