So you’re stuck at home, self-isolating, and wondering what you’re going to do to make Holy Week feel, well, holy! Where you might normally go out to church to participate in the stations of the cross, a Maundy Thursday supper and foot-washing, a Good Friday service, and the big finale – Easter Sunday service! – now you’re at home with your cat. The question has to be asked, what can we do at home to make this Easter still feel like Easter?
Here is a list of activities suitable for folks of all ages that you can try to make this coming week feel special.
Build an altar or remembrance table in a corner of your house. Think about the table at the front of the church sanctuary, what would it look like to recreate that in your own space? You could include objects, colours and textures that remind you of the Creator/Christ/Spirit. There’s a great article by Sharon Ely Pearson.
Put a Christ Light in your table for meals. The candle reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the World, that there is hope even in the darkest of times. Consider lighting it every day except Good Friday and Holy Saturday to represent Jesus in the tomb.
Bring back grace before meals. This is a practice many households still do and others struggle with. Some enjoy a sung grace, others a lengthy spontaneous prayer. I know a few households that read a short meditation before dinner that can spark conversation. While my spouse likes a traditional prayer I prefer a deep breath and a moment of gratitude in silence. No matter how you do it it should be about thankfulness, and if you’ve got that part down then you’re doing it right!
Watch the sunrise together on Easter morning. Missing that sunrise service? Or maybe you’ve never attended one before. Consider meeting the daybreak and soaking in some of that glorious Easter newness.
Read the story together. Each of the gospels offers us a Passion Story, from Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to his resurrection sighting(s). Choose one to read together. Matthew is often a favoured reading (Matthew 26:14-28:10) but this year’s lectionary also offers us John readings for each day of Holy Week
- Monday John 12:1-11
- Tuesday John 12:20-36
- Wednesday John 13:21-32
- Maundy Thursday John 13:1-17, 31-35
- Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
- Holy Saturday John 19:38-42
- Easter Sunday John 20:1-18.
Or, if you’re lazy, watch the movie! Jesus Christ Superstar is a fun classic. The Bible, on Netflix, has episodes that fit in with Holy Week (watch episode “Betrayal” for Maundy Thursday, “Passion” for Good Friday, and “Courage” for Easter Sunday). Now I would take The Bible with more than just a grain of salt. For a paraphrase of the Luke text check-out The Bible Project’s summary of Luke 12-23 for Good Friday and ch. 24 for Easter Sunday.
Share an agape feast. A relative of Eucharist or communion, an agape feast is a sharing of bread and wine that isn’t presided over by a member of the clergy. Consider making it a part of your family dinner, tell the story of Jesus’ last days together and break bread and share wine/juice in remembrance of his life and death.
Tell one another your faith stories. Like the women at the tomb, share your stories of the risen Christ with one another! Where have you seen God at work in your own life?
Sing your favourite worship songs and hymns. Let those Easter hallelujahs ring out! If you need a little help most can be found on YouTube or Spotify. One of my favourites? “Morning Has broken” by Yusuf Islam. My spouse’s is “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”.
Do some Easter themed meditative colouring. Illustrated Ministry is offering some great Holy Week and Easter-themed colouring sheets for free during the pandemic. Sign-up here
Bake a traditional Easter treat. Does your family have a tradition of baking easter bread? There are all sorts of wonderful edible Easter traditions from around the world. Why not try something new? Check-out this article from Food.com that talks about Easters foods from around the world.