Holy Week and Easter suggest a variety of possibilities to inspire worshipers to understand the events leading up to, and following, Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Keep in mind your worshipers may include persons returning after a long absence, coming for the first time and "regulars" who may not be actively involved throughout the week. Your congregation also will be multigenerational and possibly culturally diverse.
Simple imagery will enhance, rather than distract from, the intended message.
Try the following ideas. Even if you choose some variation of the recommendation, it will be worth the effort.
- Arrange a space in the narthex, a wide hallway or the sanctuary. Choose a daily symbol that tells the story of the events leading up to Easter. Change the symbols every day to keep through Easter Sunday. An alternate idea is to use a large enough table to add symbols each day. By Easter, the story is complete!
- Set up an Easter tree and provide small pieces of paper for persons to write and hang prayers as they enter. During a special time in the service, display the tree and include the prayers during the service. Plant the slips of paper in a flower garden. The paper decomposes as fertilizer.
- Make potted lilies available ahead of time for persons to purchase for members and friends who are ill or unable to attend church. Provide cards for special notes. Display the lilies during the Easter service and instruct the donors to retrieve them after the service to deliver to their honoree.
- Help the children make Easter bookmarks for visitors attending the worship service.
- Photograph worshipers and have a team print the photos for pickup after the service. Each photo can include the name of the church, the date and a special greeting of thanks.
- Develop a memorial garden where children can plant flowers.
- Develop an outdoor sunrise service where various characters portray the discovery at the tomb. Set aside an area near the church so the congregation can walk back for the continued celebration. Begin the "formal" service with the women running and shouting, "He is not here. Jesus is not here. He is risen."
Consider pageantry an option throughout Holy Week and the Easter season. Music, portrayal, visual worship spaces, liturgical dance, electronic image projection and sermon drama are just a few ways to help make the story come alive! Have fun!
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