Easter 2020 worldwide looks different. Not the message, but indeed the form.
The Easter message of death followed by life in Jesus is a glorious message of hope and perhaps as relevant and important for all to hear in the midst of a pandemic. If life matters, as it clearly does given the extraordinary measures that are being taken worldwide to stop the spread of this virus, then now is the time to proclaim the Easter message!
What has changed is the form. The opportunity to physically gather together with others to proclaim that ‘Christ is risen, he is risen indeed’ is not possible. And so we gather online and in many new and creative ways. Never before has there been such an opportunity for folk to connect into Easter without having to put a foot outside their front door. What an opportunity.
Anyone (with an internet connection) can step into church without the fear of having to make small talk, or the worry about what to do or where to sit, or the concern that they might ‘out’ themselves as someone who might just possibly be open to considering Jesus or his message. They can sit hidden behind their screen, undetectable to those who are proclaiming the Easter message.
How can we invite folk to join us online?
Here are some easy and obvious suggestions:
1) Make the most of ‘virtual’ connection points.
FaceBook, Instagram, What’s App, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit and more are all social media platforms. Each work slightly differently and if you are a current user you would know how. Use these platforms to invite folk to your online church. In just a few words you can connect your unchurched friends, colleagues, family and neighbours who might be tiring of being locked behind their front door and could welcome a new experience. Send them the link to your church online gathering. You can join me at Easter here.
2) Return to ‘old school’ connection.
For all the new found benefit of our sudden virtual world, there may be many who are tiring of everything being on a screen. So contact them using the tried and true method of phoning them or sending them a snail-mail card. And when you do, include something about what you are doing at Easter including an invitation to online church. Have some fun with this. Go here for a humorous and socially responsible way to purchase greeting cards which interact with COVID-19.
An electronic version of this idea could be to send an e-card for Easter!
3) Gather for a Virtual Easter Lunch.
One tradition that will be hard for many this year (believer or not) is the family Easter lunch. For many this would have been the family connection point as they came together to enjoy a meal. With isolation, that is not as easy. Why not invite friends or family to join you this year for Easter lunch using a video conference tool – like Zoom, What’s App, Skype, Messenger et al.
Perhaps you could invite them to watch you church online Easter gathering, and while watching or after watching, share a meal in your respective locations. If looking for a fun idea for the kids, why not set up a virtual Easter Egg hunt or hold an Easter Hat parade. This may be a good opportunity to talk and show others your ‘Easter traditions’.
4) Point people to Kids Bible Resources.
Self-isolation and the encouragement to keep kids at home for school has changed much for many families. Parents now find themselves looking for ways to occupy kids when they have to stay close to home. If your church is able to provide Kids Easter (online) Resources then pointing parents to what is available may give them something else to do with their kids. That means both parents and kids get to look at the Easter story together.
The church where I serve produces Kid’s resources in a ‘google classroom’ for a) each day (in the form of daily Bible reading videos), b) for Easter, and c) for regular Sunday gatherings. There are Bible teaching videos, songs, activity sheets and suggestions for things to make and do. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and access codes.
Whatever you do, Easter is too good an opportunity to miss. So many of the endeavors which can ‘distract’ us from the gospel message have been closed for now – sporting events, holidays, movie theatres, non-essential shopping, festivals and more. With those lights turned off, Christians have a light that burns brightly.
‘In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all humanity. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)
Let’s shine a light brightly this Easter.
Tell me, I would love to hear your creative ideas.