By Brady Neal
Worship Pastor

Can you smell it in the air? Spring is almost here! The greatness and majesty of our God is all around us, “Our God is so big, so mighty and strong”, my son sings. To me, Easter means a time of remembrance of God’s grace, but also a time of renewing in His mercy as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Often when we get caught up in doing the same thing over and over, even year in and year out we tend to forget the meaning and purpose of it all.

May I suggest this year, change things up as you celebrate Easter!

***Disclaimer****
I want to first mention that I am all about fun and traditions, but I dare you to experiment this year and see how changing just some of your Easter activities might bring a fresh awareness of God’s grace and mercy.

Remember the Lord’s Supper
I suggest a re-enactment of the “First Lord’s Supper” in your home. This can be done with your family or even a group of friends, but think about the impact. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Prepare a Passover Meal together. (What is the Passover Dad? Be Ready!)
  • Read through Matthew 26:26-30 or Luke 22, and breakdown the meaning of this great event together.
  • Discuss what might have been going through the disciples minds that night.
  • End with a time of singing or prayer.
  • Most importantly, prepare for this time. Think through it, and make it special. Come up with your own creative way to make this time unforgettable.

Ditch the Easter Outfits!
According the National Retail Federations Easter Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics in 2014, Americans will spend over $2.6 billion dollars on Easter clothing! That is Billion with a “B”. I know, I know, but what will you post on Facebook! Think about how big of an impact the $50-$100 you would have spent on Easter clothing might have on someone in need, a specific charity or even a special offering like the Annie Armstrong North American Missions Offering. Don’t let this life lesson skip you by. If you have kids, be sure to explain to them why this year might seem a little different than last. Have fun with it!

Come to the Cross
If you walked around your home, you can likely locate several crosses. The symbol of the cross is a powerful testimony of our Faith and the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ made on the cross because of our sin. Prepare a cross in your home. It might be as simple as taking one down off the wall or going outside with the kids and putting some sticks together. Place this cross somewhere special. During the week leading up to Easter, have little pieces of paper sitting next the cross. As you go through your week and face fears, worries or sin, bring those struggles to the cross. Using this with children can be a powerful way to illustrate God’s love and forgiveness.

Save the Stone
“The stone was rolled away!” What does that mean for you? Everything! Our Savior is Risen. Find a small stone, round and flat—something that might represent on a much smaller scale the kind of stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus. Now get out a piece of paper, set that stone at the top and begin to list how the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ has changed your life! Don’t just think on the surface here.  Dig deep and put some thought into this. You might even have to come back to this two or three different times. Save the Stone in a safe place, and keep this piece of paper next to your bed or in your Bible. Every morning and evening go over this list until it is written on your heart.  Now bring out that stone and carry it in your pocket, car, purse or maybe even take a picture and make it your phone background! Let this stone serve as a visual reminder of your gratefulness of the resurrection of our Lord.

Now, try one of these different approaches to celebrating Easter, or maybe all four! But take action now. Start planning, and think about how you will make this year different.  Be creative and thoughtful with each activity. If you are struggling with ideas, let me know and I would be glad to send you some more detailed suggestions on how we plan on making this Easter a little different. You can contact me at bneal@nebaptist.com.