Help! Easter is on the way and I am stuck at home with this lot!


Greetings from my bubble to yours! 

Easter is fast approaching, and it will be a year like no other. And because it's been an intense and worrying time for many of us, I suggest that we don't get overwhelmed by trying to accomplish too much. I have put together five tips for preparing for this season - so that we can worship God, find joy in each other's company and not collapse with stress. 

1. Lower your expectations: While we might want Easter to be a super-spiritual amazing time, the chances are our housemates (young and old) may have other ideas. God made families, God understands the craziness. Celebrate the small wins.  

2. Raise your expectations: I shall now contradict myself! Now is the time to be surprised by what God can do in and through our families. God is creative, and works in unexpected ways. I am all too often taken by surprise by children and their ability to cut right to the heart of the things of God. I shouldn't be surprised, Jesus did say they were signs of the Kingdom!   

3. Go back to the beginning: Remember the first Easter. Jesus' friends were hiding in a locked room. They were afraid. But Jesus wasn't bound by walls or isolation or fear. He came right on in, and sat down and had a meal with them. No big church meeting, no rousing sermon, no large worship band, just a small group of people gathered in a room waiting for their friend to appear. We got this...! (Credit: a wonderful Facebook post by Michael Droege) 

4. Keep it simple: Set up a call with family, using Skype, Zoom, Face-time...whatever works easiest for everyone. You could invite someone living alone to join your call. Create a simple Easter Sunday morning service together. Before hand, send out a short email with a 'service outline' and invite them to choose one part to lead. This could include: 
  • Someone sings an item (or sing a song together. Here's a link to a song on Youtube you could sing along to if your family is comfortable with that. Choose a clip that has lyrics with it).
  • Another person reads a short passage from the Bible (Click here for an example), or read it from the Jesus Storybook Bible.
  • Take communion together. Have someone say some simple words about what it means and give everyone a cup of juice and piece of bread to eat all together at the same time. 
  • Pray together. You could do this by sitting in silence for 1 minute minimum (put a timer on), or having one family member say a prayer and everyone respond with an Amen. 
  • Say a blessing out loud together. You could use this example: 

“I pray that the Lord

will bless and protect you,

and that he will show you mercy

and kindness.

May the Lord be good to you
and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 CEV version.


5. Tune in together: If your church is running something online, tune in together. Before hand, put out paper and felt tip pens, and encourage your children to draw a part of the Easter story while they listen. They could write a prayer or a poem too, to share with the family afterwards. Put out a Jesus Storybook Bible and other Easter storybooks you might have so they can read quietly if the sermon is not holding their attention. What about getting out the Lego and give them the task of building an empty tomb? Give out hot-cross buns and Easter eggs for the whole family to eat while they tune into the church service. Make it special. (see point #1 if it all turns to custard)

6. Easter Grab it:
Here's a simple way to explore the Bible story using items from around your house.
Kia tau te rangimārie
Peace be with you
Annette



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