Easter things

Here are links to lots of random Easter things – help yourself if there’s something you like.

A hymn for the Easter Vigil (metrical version of the Song of Moses and Miriam – tune: Kingsfold)

A hymn for Easter Day (based on the John 20 gospel reading – tune: lauda anima / Praise my soul)

A hymn for Eastertide (based on the various resurrection appearances  – tune: Salzburg)

Easter Eggs all age talk (based on the transformative nature of the resurrection appearances)

Easter Sunday short thought (based on the idea of ‘spoilers’ and how the resurrection becomes real for each of us individually – same basic point as the Easter eggs all age talk)

Children’s activities

  • Use the craft card that has a black scratch-off surface with a colourful layer underneath – you can cut the card into cross shapes for younger children to scratch off, or simply give out whole sheets and invite the children to draw on it things that remind them of the new life of Easter.
  • You can also use wax resist to show how the darkness of Good Friday could’t destroy the light and love of Christ (drawing images that represent the love of God with wax on paper and then using a sponge to paint over them in a dark colour – the wax drawings Easter Garden 2014will show through).
  •  Easter Garden – invite your local school to make paper flowers and bring them to their end of term Easter service – use the flowers to create a wonderfully colourful Easter garden.  This one was made using a triptych display board, green paper for the hills, and a fabric-covered basket for the tomb.
  • photo (1)If you made a ‘Way of the cross’ from stones during Holy Week, decorate it with fresh flowers on Easter morning.  This one was made on Palm Sunday (when we reflected on the stones that would ‘shout out if the crowds were silent’ – it gained tea-lights for the tenebrae service, and then dandelions on Easter morning!

Finally, some clipart:

euch-easter dayemptytomb005daffodils005 - Copycross made of flowers

Easter Hymn

Here’s a hymn for Easter day, written for the very lovely Cate Williams.
It’s based on the John 20 gospel reading about Jesus and Mary in the garden.
If you want one that’s more for the Easter season, then try this.
The tune is Praise my soul / Lauda anima, and there’s now a fourth verse to make it easier for those using recorded hymn accompaniments 🙂
As always, help yourself if you like it.

Early, while the world was sleeping,
to the garden Mary came;
lost in lonely grief, still weeping
till in love you spoke her name.
Alleluia, alleluia
Nothing now can be the same.

See, the sunlight, slowly dawning
overwhelms the shades of night,
welcoming this glorious morning,
rising with the Light of Light.
Alleluia, alleluia,
Death and darkness put to flight.

Trusted as the first apostle,
Mary swiftly made her way;
bearing this, the Easter gospel
to a world in disarray.
Alleluia, alleluia,
Good news for the earth today.

Risen Jesus, come and greet us:
Speak our name, we are your own;
In your generous love you meet us:
in our lives that love is shown.
Alleluia, alleluia,
Resurrection life made known.

Easter Eggs

In my previous parish, which didn’t ‘do’ the Easter vigil,  I found myself slightly disturbed by the number of ‘Happy Eater’ and ‘Alleluia’ messages in my twitter feed from those returning from evening services on Holy Saturday, confident that the resurrection had already happened.  I kept wanting to reply ‘Spoiler-alert – I haven’t had my resurrection yet!’ It made me think about the timing of our Alleluias – if you were here yesterday for the 8.30pm service, was the resurrection then?  Or is it now, at the 10am service?  What about those churches that have their Eucharist at dawn? Are they the ones who are really getting it right? Is their resurrection the real one?

Let’s explore this idea a bit more, using the time-honoured medium of chocolate eggs.

(I would hold up a whole egg, at this point).

Jesus’ tomb was a little like this egg – inside it’s dark and cramped, but when the resurrection happened, and Jesus burst out of the tomb, Good Friday is smashed once and for all, and new life is set free. (At this point I dramatically smash the egg into a bowl or basket.)  There is no going back. This egg is smashed. This resurrection has undoubtedly happened.broken chocolate egg

But the trouble was, that nobody witnessed it!  The solders (in that account, anyway) passed out and didn’t see Jesus emerge, and the next thing we know, it’s the women arriving at the tomb still expecting to find a dead body, and instead finding it empty.  The actual moment of the resurrection happened in private. All that resurrection joy and nobody to share it.

On Easter Sunday we focus on Mary’s story – we just heard it as our gospel reading.  There in the garden, the resurrection had already happened, but she was trapped in her own Good Friday – her grief and sadness kept her in the dark (hold up another, whole egg, at this point).

And we can tell the exact moment when the resurrection happened for her – it’s when Jesus calls her name. Suddenly grief is turned to joy.  Mary’s Good Friday is smashed once and for all, the new life is set free in her (smash the second egg and handing it round).

That’s all very well for Mary but what about everyone else?  At this point she’s still the only real witness. What about all the others?  If you come back to church over the next few weeks you’ll hear more stories of how the resurrection became real to all of Jesus’ friends. But here’s a sneak preview.

– Thomas = doubt to faith when he sees Jesus’ wounds.
– Disciples = fear to peace of mind/joy when Jesus says ‘Peace be with you’
– Emmaus Road = confusion to recognition when Jesus breaks the bread
– Peter = guilt to new purpose when Jesus gives him the chance to say ‘I love you’ three times to make up for his threefold denial.
(For each one you can hold up and break a new egg)

You can also ask people to think in their own minds about what other sorts of things keep us trapped in our own Good Friday’s, and let that lead into prayer that all may experience the resurrection in a way that’s personal to them, but absolutely connected with Jesus’ defeat of sin and death.

Note:

  • For very small children, it can be good to act this process out – making ourselves small and sad, scrunched up with our arms wrapped round us, and then jumping up for joy.

I also wrote a hymn that goes well with the resurrection stories. Here it is.

Eastertide hymn

For some reason I was thinking today about Epiphany, and how wonderfully the hymn ‘Songs of thankfulness and praise’ captures the Epiphany stories that we enjoy in the lectionary in the weeks after Christmas.  It then occurred to me that it might be fun to write an Eastertide equivalent, so I’ve used the same tune (I know there’s more than one tune used for the Epiphany hymn, so I guess that means that whatever tune you’d use for that one, you could also use for this one!).  I only wrote this just now, and it’s in draft form, so any comments or suggestions for improvement are very welcome, as always!

Life comes to an upper room,
breaking through the fear and gloom;
walls and door-locks are no bar:
Jesus meets us where we are.
Life dispels the doubt of grief
bringing hope and new belief;
touching scars – these signs of pain
bring us back to life again.

Life comes to a broken heart,
bowed by sorrow, torn apart;
in the darkness of our tears
Jesus speaks to calm our fears.
On our journey life comes home,
in this fellowship made known;
with Christ’s body we are fed:
life revealed in broken bread.

Life comes to a sunlit shore,
sharing food with friends once more;
Fresh new callings banish guilt,
hope and faith and love rebuilt.
Jesus’ vict’ry over death
brings new life with every breath,
to the world it’s freely giv’n,
reconciling earth with heav’n.