Countdown to Easter
People often count down the days to Christmas with advent Calendars, eagerly awaiting the holiday. For some it is the excitement of seeing family and friends, for others they cannot wait to open gifts. And while Easter carries so much meaning for believers, it often gets lost in the busyness of spring activities, spring break vacations and other commitments. While many people get excited about the new outfit they are going to wear to church or what they are going to eat for Sunday brunch, the true meaning of Easter and the Resurrection can sometimes get lost.
The Stations of the Cross or the Scriptural Way of the Cross can be a helpful too that can help you, your family or small group get focused on the meaning of Resurrection Sunday and what Christ did for us on the cross. Some churches even recreate this so that you can experience it.
- Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane-Read Matthew 26:36-41
- Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested-Read Mark 14:43-46
- Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin- Read Luke 22:66-71
- Jesus is denied by Peter-Read Matthew 26:69-75
- Jesus is judged by Pontius Pilate- Read Mark 15:1-5, 15
- Jesus is scourged at the pillar and crowned with thorns- Read John 19:1-3
- Jesus bears the cross- Read John 19:6, 15-17
- Jesus is helped by Simon to carry the cross-Read Mark 15:21
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem-Read Luke 23:27-31
- Jesus is nailed to the cross-Read Luke 23:33-34
- Jesus dies on the cross-Read Luke 23:44-46
- Jesus is placed in the tomb-Read Matthew 27:57-60
- He is Risen!
Read and reflect. Set aside time each day to read the passage and reflect on it. Pray and ask God what He wants to reveal to you. Is there something in your life that needs to change? Ask a friend, your small group or family to read it together in the days leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Discuss with each other what you are learning or things that you see that you might not have caught before.
Create. Take the stations of the Cross and create an experience for your small group, friends or church. It doesn’t have to be a huge production. You could simply take different areas of the house you meet at and rotate reading the passages. There might be corresponding art or scenes from a movie for that station. You could have different people own each station so that one person doesn’t have to coordinate everything. Many churches do this as an event. If your church is not doing one, check to see if other churches in the area are hosting an event. Grab your small group, invite some friends and experience it together. Afterwards, grab coffee or a meal and share what impacted you, what you saw this time that you haven’t seen before or something that you want to change as a result of what you experienced.
Pray and invite. Easter is one of the few times that people are more open to visiting church. Pray and ask God to show you someone in your life that He wants you to invite to church or to an outreach. Sometimes it can be less intimidating if they are able to meet people before going to church. Consider having a meal or get together with your small group where you all invite friends or family that you are going to invite to Easter service. Then when you go to church, they will be able to see some familiar faces aside from the person that invited them. You could also have a get together with everyone a week or so after church to and ask them what they thought of it. Ask them if they have any questions and take time to try and answer them. Most importantly, take time to get to know the person.