Easter Sunday- Week of April 4, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Dear God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus you bring us hope and new life. Open our hearts to celebrate and worship him every day. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is WORSHIP. Reflect on your household’s worship practices for the Easter season. What makes worship so special during Eastertide?
Adult and Small Child
Read: John 20:1-18
Reflect: My favorite part of John’s account of Jesus’ resurrection happens in John 20:15-16. Here we find Mary weeping at the empty tomb because Jesus’ body is missing, and she doesn’t know where to find him. Jesus suddenly appears, asks why she’s crying, and Mary thinks he is the gardener! Can you imagine mistaking Jesus Christ for the gardener? And then, Jesus says her name, “Mary,” and she realizes it’s him.
Our names and the people who call them are so important. I know how each member of my family pronounces my name or the nickname they use as a sign of affection. Jesus and Mary Magdalene are such good friends that she immediately recognizes him when he calls out to her by name. Mary’s feelings change when Jesus says her name. She stops crying and runs to hug him. What was lost is now found.
Respond: In preparation for church (whether it’s in-person or virtual), create a simple coloring sheet for young children with large block letters of their name and the name of Jesus. Gather crayons and invite children to color these very important names during worship, then find a place to hang them for the Easter season. Each time you see them, reflect on how Jesus might call you by name and why you might call upon Jesus.
- Allison Liles
Adult and Elementary
Read: John 20:1-18
Reflect: Imagine what it would be like to be Mary Magdalene. She has just seen Jesus die on the cross and goes to see his body, only to discover that the tomb is empty. She asks for help finding him, and two disciples look around a bit, but then head home. She can’t find Jesus. Her helpers are no help. She is alone. What would you have done next? How would you have felt? Mary Magdalene makes a bold choice: she stays. She stands ready. Even as she cries, she doesn’t cover her eyes. Instead, she looks. Mary Magdalene leans into the mystery with eyes wide open, and she becomes the first person to see and hear the risen Jesus. His message to her is direct: go. And she does, without question. What does Mary Magdalene’s example teach us about following Jesus? What is our work as disciples?
Respond: Worship prepares us to take Jesus’ message to love one another into the world, like Mary Magdalene does. Every baptized Christian promises, among other things, to pray and proclaim. Have you led a worship service? This is not only the work of priests or pastors. Give it a try, maybe with your family or a few friends. A simple service might include an opening song, opening prayer, Bible passage, closing prayer, and closing song. Make it your own so it reflects your life with God. If you play guitar, do that! If you want to set up an altar with a candle or flowers or sacred images, include that in your plans. Explore the Book of Common Prayer for ideas, especially the “Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families” (p. 136) and “Prayers and Thanksgivings” (p. 810). Or write your own prayers, sharing the unique voice and perspective God gave you.
- Kelly Ryan
Adult and Youth
Read: John 20:1-18
Reflect: We have now lived during a pandemic. We, like Mary Magdalene and the disciples, all have a shared experience. We can likely relate to the range of emotions that Mary, Simon Peter, and the other disciples felt. Surprise, fear, anger, sadness, uncertainty, confusion, disbelief, joy and hope. Take a few moments to reflect about a time when you felt one or more of these emotions during the pandemic.
This Scripture reading ends with Mary sharing with the disciples that she had seen Jesus, and told them what Jesus said to her. We know how the story goes, we don’t have to worry about what happens next – unlike Mary and the disciples, we KNOW that Jesus is risen and we can have hope for the world! Reflect again about something that has brought you hope during the pandemic. Or, reflect on something that you are hopeful for in the future.
Respond: Our Way of Love practice this week is worship. When we worship, we thank, praise and dwell with God. In this activity, we will worship. There are many ways to worship, please feel free to make the experience your own.
- Pray: Risen Christ, thank you for your forgiveness and love. Please dwell with us here as we worship you today. Amen.
- Act: Grab a piece of paper and writing utensil. Make a list of at least 7 things that give you hope, and are easy to do. Ex: being outside, talking with a friend, drawing. Put your list up somewhere that you will see it every day and do at least one of the activities daily for a week and see how you can create hope. Reflect to your group or internally about how each of these activities glorifies God.
- Praise: Use whatever resources you have (song book, hymnal, online) to look up songs about Easter, resurrection, or hope. When you find a song you like read the lyrics to the group (or sing them!).
- Pray: Thank you God for sending us Jesus to bring hope and forgiveness. Amen.
- Nicole McCarthy
Adult and Adults
Read: John 20:1-18
Reflect: As we come again to this familiar, yet startling story of the empty tomb on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene stands out as the hero of the story. She is, in many ways, the first Christian, in the sense that she is the first who meets Jesus as the Christ, confirmed as God’s son in the triumph of life over death, of love over hate. Mary Magdalene shows us the first Easter worship, and this response offers us a picture of our fundamental call to response in love and honor to the resurrection. First, Mary shows us faithful response to the resurrection by going to find others to join her; she calls for her community witness. She also asks faithful questions and acknowledges the mystery of life after death. Mary brings her full self, with joy and grief, to Jesus, honoring all of who she is and what she has experienced with him. Finally, Mary proclaims what she has seen to other people, sharing this astounding good news that her teacher, Jesus, is alive. When we meet Jesus, we are called to community, to wonder, to show up wholeheartedly, and to share the good news of what we have seen.
Respond: Take a few minutes to reread the gospel passage in a practice of contemplative imagination. Invite the Holy Spirit to wake up your imagination as you read, and visualize the scene. What details, textures, sounds, and images stand out to you as you read again? How might God be inviting you to be present to the risen Christ in a new way, and respond with our sister Mary Magdalene in worship through community, wonder, wholeheartedness, and sharing the good news?
- Claire Brown