This is an Easter unlike any other. That much is clear. But that reality also gives us an opportunity to have a one-of-kind worship experience. I’m not talking about Hollywood-level special effects in our Sunday live stream (although that would be interesting!). Rather, what if we all just got back to basics, and gave thanks for the risen Son with the rising sun?
Here are some practical suggestions about how to create an Easter Sunrise worship experience for yourself and/or your household.
All preparation for worship should start with prayer. Simply ask God to lead you as you seek to honor this most holy day of the church year. Then pause and listen to God. Expect your mind to be filled with ideas of what would work and be meaningful for your context.
You could sign up for an hour of prayer with our 24-7 Prayer Event to make sure you’ve set apart time to do this. There are even some open times early on Easter morning if you click on the arrow under “Navigation”
2. Have a Plan
You don’t need to have a script, but you should have a plan.
At a minimum, I’d recommend reading the Easter Story (for example, in Matthew 28:1-10 or John 20:1-18) and praying the Lord’s prayer. Some additional elements you might add include music, some personal reflections on the scripture, and prayers for the church, the world, our community, and your personal concerns.
You might consider using this brief service developed by a group of pastors in Pennsylvania. Alternatively, more in depth orders of service for home worship have been prepared by United Methodist scholars. I think I will probably use this simple service compiled by Winfield Bevins for the publisher seedbed. It even contains a simple homily!
3. Get out of Bed
Rise and shine! Sunrise is at 6:32 on Easter morning! Ideally your service would begin a few minutes before that so that the sunrise happens during your service. Remember, Easter only happens once a year. Hopefully this type of Easter only happens once in a life-time. Be bold, and get out of bed!
4. Get out on the Porch
You might not have a porch, but try to get outside, near an open window, or whatever the closest version of outside is that you can manage. There is something special about proclaiming the risen Christ in the open air of God’s creation. Who knows? You might even see some neighbors out on their porches!
5. Follow the plan, but also the Holy Spirit
You have your plan and all the resources you need to make the sunrise service happen (e.g. a Bible, print-outs of the order of service, etc.). It’s going to go great! Even if you don’t follow your plan, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you (Romans 8:11)! You will guided moment by moment and God will be with you.
This is going to be an Easter we won’t soon forget. I pray that your sunrise service will create very fond memories for all involved, while remembering Jesus Christ, raised from the dead!