Easter is here, and what a unique and sobering time to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Maybe Easter looks very different for you this year. Perhaps you’re missing the joy shared with your church family on resurrection day—the hugs and laughter shared with friends and family as you share a meal together.
Most likely, you are at home feeling the weight of the world around you. Fear, loss and the unknown have a way of tangling around the heart, leaving us struggling to keep up with the basics of life. Despite what you may be feeling, we want to invite you to join us as we lean in this Easter—into the heaviness, the loss and the fear. To bring it as an offering to our resurrected King, who has indeed conquered death and fear.
There is no better time than now to reflect upon what Jesus’ death and resurrection thousands of years ago means for us today.
So, gather your family, light a candle and pour a warm drink. Join us for an at-home Easter celebration.
“A Call and Response for Weary Bones.”
Leader: Lord, today we gather on our couches, at kitchen tables, in unmade beds and backyard decks to celebrate Your resurrection—Your defeat of sin and death. This is a day of such vast hope, such deep joy. But, we recognize that we also hold in our hands, significant loss. Loss of security, loss of routine, loss of perspective. We join our hearts together in their tired states, Lord. Yearning, seeking, hoping.
All: Hallelujah, Jesus is here in our grieving!
Leader: We lift our eyes from the dust of our feet to the bright light cast from the tomb. It is empty. It is finished. You are here and You have left death in its grave! We shake the dust and gather around the empty tomb, with a newfound hope that eclipses the darkness.
All: Hallelujah, Jesus is the resurrected Light!
Leader: Because of You, Jesus, we need not fear the dark night or the arrow that flies by day. Your victory has opened the way for Your people to have life, and life abundant. We are no longer slaves to our fears and our anxieties. No longer bound to the panic that tempts to steal our trust. Even when the rug is pulled from beneath us, we stand firm in who You’ve called us to be. Because of You, we are a resurrected people!
All: Hallelujah, because of Jesus, we are a people of confidence!
Leader: In the shadows of our current days, Lord, the celebration of your resurrection day is even more potent. Even more crisp and tangible. We can taste Your Hope—it is sweeter than honey. We can see Your Victory—it is stronger than sicknesses and plague. We can touch Your Love—it binds us together even in our loss.
All: Hallelujah, our resurrected King captures our senses!
Leader: As we reflect on what this day means for us, a resurrected people, we let go of our fears, our expectations and our uncertainties. We press into the brilliant reality of what it means to have a resurrected King—alive and active. We recognize that we are not in control, but You are. That just as the Mary’s grief was turned into joy at the sight of your empty grave, You turn our cries into dancing! Because of Your great love for us, we are free.
All: Hallelujah, because of Your great love for us, we are free!
Christ the Lord is With Me, Steffany Gretzinger
There is such humanity tucked into Matthew’s account of Jesus’ resurrection. We can feel the emotion that the women felt when they saw for themselves that Jesus’ tomb was empty. We read that they were “afraid, yet full of joy” as they ran to tell the disciples what they had seen. In fact, Matthew’s resurrection account is filled to the brim with raw human emotion and experience.
Fear. Joy. Urgency. Desperation. Doubt.
The people of Jesus felt all sorts of emotions even after seeing their King had risen from the dead. Some doubted that He really had defeated death. Others clung to his feet in urgency, worship and fear.
It’s easy for us to feel the same way, even 2,000 years later. To feel the joy, fear and doubt all bundled into one. We know our King has conquered the grave, and yet we still find ourselves full of fear, anxiety and doubt, especially in a time like this.
In Luke’s account of the resurrection story, Jesus’ response to his doubting disciples is patient and reassuring.
“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Luke 24:38-39).
Look at my hands and my feet.
In the doubting and fear that clouds our minds and our hearts in this season, Jesus’ response to his doubting disciples still rings true for us today. We have the evidence right before our eyes! We need not tremble in a world full of uncertainty, because our confidence is firm in the scars of Jesus. We just need to look and fix our wandering eyes.
It is easy to let doubts creep into our minds. Thoughts that Jesus has lost control of the situation. That He has abandoned us, or is not strong enough to defeat such a global pandemic. But, when we find our thoughts in this mucky space, we are forgetting where our eyes ought to be fixed. What brilliant news His death and resurrection bring to humanity—
—that disease, sickness and death never get the last word. The last word belongs to Jesus forever! We were never meant to live in fear, but in the sweet confidence that we are the sons and the daughters of an ever-present, alive King! He is not surprised by the situation we find ourselves in, nor is He overwhelmed.
Today, as you invite yourself into the glorious Easter story, bring your doubts, your fears and your anxieties. Lay them down. And look at the hands and the feet of the Holy of holies. Victory is found Here.
With your family, discuss the following questions. Or, on your own, reflect on them with a pen and a journal.
- What questions, doubts and fears are you carrying with you today as you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus?
- What are some practical ways that you can refocus on the hands and feet of Jesus—the one who defeated sin and death—in times of fear?
- In this season of uncertainty, how can the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection give us confidence?
- Jesus is our Risen King, our Good Shepard, the Lion and the Lamb. What are some characteristics of our resurrected King Jesus that bring you comfort in these times?
House of God Forever by Jon Foreman
“A Psalm 23 Call and Response.”
All: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.
Leader: God, thank You for taking care of us. For granting us rest. For restoring us each day. Thank You that in Your death and resurrection, we have access to peace and confidence that surpasses all understanding.
All: He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Leader: Lord, our world is in a dark valley. Many have died or face death because of this pandemic. The shadow of evil looms. Thank You that we need not fear, even when the world around us is scary, because we are always in Your presence and You are with us.
All: Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Leader: Thank You for Your comfort, King Jesus. We are thankful that You have sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to us, especially for times like this. We thank You for Your overflowing abundance—that as we remember to take care of each other, we have enough.
All: Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Leader: God, thank You for the hope of eternity that we celebrate today. What a gift it is that even right now, we can experience your goodness and love, and that Your goodness and love will never end. We pray that everyone would know the abundant and eternal life that is found in You. Amen.
Happy Easter to you, friends! We pray you find comfort in the Victory of our King today and always.
Written by Laura Phillips, with Alyssa Esparaz
Art by Steve Johnson