Seeing hot cross buns appear in the shops leads to varied reactions. Some people are delighted. Some are reminded how fast the years now pass. Some protest that the last week in December is too soon!
But Easter is now no longer so far off! How is your church community celebrating Easter this year?
Here are a few simple ideas that the different generations in your church can enjoy doing together this Easter:
Mini Easter garden
Recreate on a tiny scale the important parts of the Easter story: a cross and an empty tomb in a mini landscape. Dirt, rocks, moss and sticks crafted together in a pot or a tray to retell the Easter story needs hands with different levels of skill, lots of teamwork and time talking and problem-solving together. Or if you prefer less mess, perhaps construct Easter symbols origami-style with only coloured paper and hang together as a mobile or stick onto a canvas.
Chocolate egg decorating
We decorate gingerbread houses for Christmas, but did you know that royal icing does the same brilliant job of attaching lollies to chocolate eggs?! This is a great activity for parents or friends to do alongside children. Use questions or topic suggestions or even a personal testimony from a church member to encourage conversation about why Easter is special. Chocolate always has appeal.
Think beyond the classic chocolate egg hunt to something more engaging and meaningful. Hide giant puzzle pieces that fit together to tell the Easter story. Or a memory verse. Or a Bible timeline that show the wonder of Easter with its unexpected fulfilment and glory. Widen the search field and invite groups of friends or families to hunt together. Include hints or clues or use codes for added mystery.
All these activities encourage conversation and cooperation that can bridge the usual divisions of age, gender, particular interests, even language. A speaker might present a message from the Bible and encourage discussion about a particular verse, or the sharing of life experience or meaningful memories. It is often these relaxed times of sharing and cooperation that see God’s people building each other up, and guests convicted by the love and unity of people that may have nothing else in common.
But maybe you need to not put on another event. Easter can be celebrated within the established ministries or with just a little mixing to make things interesting. Invite an older congregation member to visit the kids club and share their experiences of Easter over the years. The children can return to church after the kids program before the service ends and display their Easter craft and share what they’ve learned. The youth group could plan a drama or skit that is performed in the Sunday morning kids program.
Perhaps different ministries can combine for one big celebration that spans the generations and different groups? Give each group the space to contribute and be appreciated and enjoyed: kids can read the Bible, or even lead the singing. Sermons or kids talks can be interpreted so more can understand and participate.
Intentionally create opportunities for people to communicate with others they do not get to speak with usually. This might look like allowing a question to be discussed along the pew, or if you’re really brave, play musical chairs and when the music stops, everyone sits in a new seat and speaks with the people around them for a few minutes about what they love about Easter.
However Easter is celebrated among your church family, I hope our Lord Jesus will be clearly revealed and glorified in the message and that the love amongst his people will be seen and felt. And I hope you enjoy some hot cross buns too. After all, Christmas is coming!