“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. – Mark 16:1-7
A little over 2,000 years ago, the first Easter would be celebrated. And, over all of the years in between then and now, this is the first Resurrection Sunday that will find churches empty of God’s people. Worship will be done in isolation and, needless to say, it doesn’t feel the same.
For weeks, we have watched sermons online and listened to worship music as a family. We have devoured podcasts and consumed as many online articles as we can grasp. Countless daily devotions, books, and Bible studies been cracked in search of answers. We are desperately trying to cling to hope in a season of darkness.
Here is the most beautiful truth.
Even in the midst of the mayhem, God is good when things are bad. And, in His abounding love and mercy, He has given us the gift of Christ- a gift that we will all collectively celebrate this weekend.
If you are wondering where to begin and how to celebrate Easter together while practicing social distancing and self-isolation, here are a few ways to fix your eyes and hearts on Jesus.
Remember the gospel. There was a time where we were far off from God and separate from Him. He created us to be with Him, and because of sin, we were separated. Nothing that we could do, say, or be could bridge the gap. But, Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross closed the chasm and we have been brought near. Ask God to prepare your heart by reminding you of your own salvation, to renew and restore your joy.
Prepare to come back. The virtual church is not meant to be a permanent replacement for the corporate gathering of the body, but a temporary stop gap for this season. Take a moment to allow yourself to long to be together again with your local congregation. What do you miss about heading to church? I know, for me, that I am not a hugger. But I can hardly wait to share an embrace (many, in fact) with members of my church family.
Make it memorable and meaningful. This is a unique situation, but we can take this time as an opportunity to lean in and make memories. Take a moment to plan something special. You can have an Easter egg hunt, share a special meal, or make a special craft. Our family took blue painters’ tape and turned all of our windows into “stained glass” with some dry erase markers. Since we can’t go to church, we can turn our house into church.
Walk through the basics with your family. There are things that we can do to celebrate the resurrection at home with our families. Pray. Worship. Read. Pray with your family on Easter morning. We are praying together as a family through a few Psalms. The Psalms are prayers and praises written for God’s people. We are turning on some of our favorite worship music and singing together. Lastly, we are reading through Luke’s gospel and his account of the cross.
This Easter, we plan on spending time as a family, reflecting on God’s grace. We are going to share in worship, pull up on the couch, and listen to our church’s sermon together. Afterward, we are going to have an egg hunt and come together for an Easter ham.
This Easter may be historically hard, but it has not been stripped of its meaning or joy. While we may be physically separated, we are united in spirit. This is not the end, nor has our hope been removed. Our hope is in He who has conquered death, hell, and sin- and He Is Risen.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Megan Brown is a seasoned military spouse and military missionary. She is the Military Liaison for the Speak Up Conference Global Missions Military Scholarship and the 2019-Armed Forces Insurance Robins AFB Military Spouse of the Year. She is passionate about military mission work and teaching and preaching about Jesus in and out of the local church. Her Bible study, “Esther: Come Out of Hiding,” published by Moody Publishers in Chicago, will release in April 2021. She lives in middle Georgia with her husband, Keith, and their energetic kiddos. She is a Bible teacher, speaker, and freelance writer. To learn more or connect with Megan, visit www.meganbbrown.com.