CELEBRATING EASTER AT HOME
Here we are at the start of Holy Week. But it’s all a bit different this year. It’s an Easter for staying home. I thought I would add a little post each day this week, with an idea for something you could do at home as a family. It’s important that we still celebrate this week and it is a good opportunity to try a few different things – let’s get creative!
MONDAY: Today is a good time to get your home ready for Easter. That might mean a bit of a tidy-up before decorating! Why not place little chicks and eggs around on surfaces, or make an Easter wreath for your table or door? You could cut out a circle of card and then gather small twigs and moss from your garden and stick them onto the base. You can decorate this with anything else crafty you find around the house, like small flowers or decorative eggs and ribbons. The photo below is mine, but I must admit, the base was purchased and I just added a few bits!
Or pop a few twigs in a vase and create your own Easter tree – you can hang little decorative eggs or cut out Easter shapes from card, such as crosses or butterflies, from the branches. It is a lovely way to bring the message of Easter into our homes.
TUESDAY: Today, I thought we would take a look at making an Easter Garden. You may have seen these before, they are a weet and meaningful Easter tradition. Many churches make these together, and there is no reason we couldn't have a go at home! The transformation of the deep sadness of Good Friday into the joy of Easter Day is often symbolised by the creation of an Easter garden. You can make these simply, with any container or tray and fill it with soil, moss, grass and gravel. The tomb could be a large stone or a potato. If you have small wooden crosses, place these into the garden. if not, make them out of twigs tied together with string. The Easter garden is a fun and light-hearted way to focus on a very important message - the earth shattering reality of who Jesus is and what He has done! The mini Easter garden is a gentle way to remind us of the amazing story leading up to the resurrection, and then an opportunity to be thankful that because of Jesus, we are given new life in Him and hope everlasting. God bless and have a happy Tuesday!
WEDNESDAY: Did you know that Wednesday of Holy Week is called Spy Wednesday? It is new to me too! But this is when we can we think together about the day when Judas made a bargain to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces.
One way to bring this story to life is to hide 30 pieces of ‘silver’ all round the house and have a treasure hunt together. Now unless you have a secret treasure stash, I recommend using 5p and 10p pieces, or even chocolate ones, if you have any! On finding them all, you can read the scriptures for the day (Matthew 16 14-25) and talk about why decisions shouldn’t be made with greed, but with generosity and kindness.
If you haven’t yet this Lent, this is the perfect day to give to charity – which would be a wonderful counterpoint to Judas’s act of selfishness. Having your own Spy Wednesday Silver hunt is easy and quick and might just become a tradition at your house starting this year. Have fun and God bless.
MAUNDY THURSDAY: We are moving through Holy Week at a pace and today we recall the Last supper that Jesus had with His friends before His betrayal and crucifixion. It is called Maundy because that word comes from the Latin ‘mandatum’, meaning commandment. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples that he is giving them a new commandment – to love one another.
During the Last Supper, Jesus performs the humbling act of washing the feet of His disciples. He uses this act to show how He wants them to serve and love others. Today, if you live with someone else, why not offer to wash their feet? If that is not possible, how about drawing around your foot onto paper, cutting it out and decorating it.
Also, it is the ideal day to share a home communion together. Keep it simple, in the context of your evening meal, break some bread and drink some wine (if you have it) or any juice will do, give thanks to God and remember Jesus. You may like to light a candle and read from Mark 14:12-25 and John 13: 1-5.
With everything we are living through currently, there are plenty of opportunities for us to find practical ways of expressing love. Be reminded today that we are called to further His kingdom by loving one another as Christ first loved us. You won’t have to look far – do something today for someone else, in love.
GOOD FRIDAY: This day we recall the first part of the Easter story – the story at the heart of the message of the Bible and our faith. It is the day we remember Jesus dying on a Roman cross. You may certainly not be feeling very good about today, given what is going on in the world. We are now experiencing the fear, lack of control and anguish experienced by many people throughout much of the world. This year, maybe like no other, we can stand with those whose lives are normally spent in isolation and think of the prisoner in their cell, the elderly person who receives no visitors, the person suffering with physical limitations or mental distress unable to leave their home. In our busy lives, we often leave these folk behind. What is good about today is that Jesus never forgets or overlooks anyone, He always stands with the marginalised and hurting. For He knows what it is to suffer, to be abused, to be maligned, to be betrayed and to be totally and utterly alone. We hear His voice calling out from the cross ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’.
It is understandable for us to be feeling fearful, angry and frustrated at this time, maybe lonely and deserted. But there is nothing you will be experiencing, that Jesus hasn’t already experienced. So if you ask the question what is good about Good Friday, it is that you are not alone. Jesus is with you in your suffering, your fear, your grief. And remember, this is just the first part of the Easter story...Sunday is coming.
Today, you may wish to spend some quiet time and reflect on the cross – what it means to you and to your community, especially during this pandemic. It may be a good time to decorate some crosses, wood or paper ones, and place them in your window for others to see. Below is a picture of some crosses I painted last week. Or make a cairn of stones as a prayer focus. Enjoy your Hot Cross Buns and whatever else you do today, be blessed x