As Christians across the world prepare to celebrate Easter shuttered in their homes, they will still find the joy of the day and feel closer to each other, thanks to creative thinking by church leaders.
From including photos of church members within webcast worship services, to placing written greetings at doorways, Easter celebrations can still safely connect people who want to celebrate the resurrection of their common Lord.
In many congregations, worship is now offered via webcast. However, the joy of Easter also has to do with the fellowship experienced with others, celebrating Christ‘s resurrection together. That’s why some pastors have called on parishioners to send in photos of themselves that will be inserted in the Easter webcast.
In Australia as in Jerusalem, churches are planning livestreamed Easter services for people to follow online. In the same spirit, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America have noted that services taking place even under severe restrictions may be livestreamed for the faithful to pray from their homes.
Sharing notes with other pastors on Twitter Rev. Annegreth Schilling from Frankfurt (Germany) recommended the Easter greeting “Christ is risen” to be exchanged in writing. Parishioners are invited to place such greetings at each others doors, accompanied by a small treat if they wish.
Music is another key ingredient for many would-be churchgoers as they think about how to celebrate Easter from home.
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland suggests singing Jesus Christ is Risen Today and Thine be the Glory at 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday – collectively but from many different places, be it one’s own garden or balcony or a public park during the permitted daily walk. The choice of Thine be the Glory is a way of connecting with the global church, say the organizers, as this hymn was first written in French (A Toi la Gloire) by the Swiss writer Edmund Budry.
Similarly, in Germany, anyone watching the Easter worship service on national TV is called to open their windows at the end, and sing the country’s best known Easter hymn, Christ ist erstanden ("Christ the Lord Is Risen Again!”). Germany has a strong tradition of church brass bands, so trumpets, trombones etc will make the initiative, known as #OsternVomBalkon (Easter from the balcony) widely heard.
And through the world of online media, musicians from various traditions and places around the globe have joined together in sharing an ‘ecumenical Easter song’ through video, now available for view online.
Musicians around the globe share ‘ecumenical Easter song’ (WCC press release 9 April 2020)