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Anticipating Easter: Tune Your Hearts to Worship

By Barbara Rainey

First posted on EverThineHome.com



To celebrate well, we must plan to celebrate.


Weddings, birthday parties, graduations; baby or building dedications, grand openings, awards ceremonies; all require weeks or months of planning. We brainstorm, research, make reservations, recruit friends to help or hire event planners.


Easter is next month! Would you be willing to do some planning to make your family’s Easter experience memorable? What about investing in making your church’s celebration a really big deal?


Preparing for Easter is both personal and corporate. We start by paying attention to our own hearts; focus on what Jesus did for you alone by reading devotionals like the ones I recommended last week. Prepare your home to reflect the season and your faith with ideas I wrote about here.


But we can also invest in our churches; helping the church staff, who are always busy in this season, can make Resurrection Sunday a celebration like no other at your church.


Here are a few ideas for your own heart preparation and for your church.


1. Make an Easter playlist for yourself or your family of your favorite hymns and songs that focus on the cross and the Resurrection. Interestingly, in other countries Christians don’t play Easter music until after Resurrection Sunday. They reserve it for the actual day of Easter’s celebration and then listen in the weeks after Easter to keep the joy fresh and alive.


Choose the music that sets the mood for you. We have a playlist here. Or check out musician Andrew Peterson for some good ideas for song options. Listen for yourself and your family in the weeks before and after Easter.


But especially on Easter Sunday, play your favorite Easter songs all day in your home and during your planned celebrations. I encourage you to respond to the miracle of the Resurrection with feasting and with exuberant dancing, clapping, or singing together. Easter is a day to party like no other!



2. Help your church make Easter Sunday memorable. Start by understanding that most churches have made their Easter plans months prior. Walking in at this point with grand ideas might not be well received if it feels like more work for them. So begin by deciding who to talk to and then ask that person, probably not the pastor at first, what has been planned already. Ask if they need help with what is already in the works.


Then once you have heard from them you can propose your ideas. And always bring your ideas with plans for how they can be accomplished already worked out. Pastors and their staff are frequently inundated with a thousand ideas for changes and new ideas from members but rarely do the ideas come with “How can I help?” attached. And if there’s not any time to implement your idea this year, try again next year ... but earlier.



To get you started on ideas for your church here is one that’s not too complicated.


A good friend of mine, Andrea, a pastor’s wife, said Easter at their church is a grand party. They shoot confetti cannons and encourage all the members to bring bells to ring and banners to wave to enhance the celebration. One year they even gave everyone a cake pop as a party favor on the way out of the service.








Would you be the one willing to organize some volunteers and talk with your pastor about how you can throw a big Easter Sunday party at your church too?


Easter Sunday is a great day for believers to celebrate collectively all over the world. But more importantly, it is a day for us to declare to the world that Jesus is alive! If we make much of Jesus, if we celebrate publicly, noticeably, and joyfully in such a way that those who don’t know him watch and wonder, might our day be a witness to the world?



Truly, Easter should be an enormous celebration.


Join us this year in honoring Christ’s sacrifice and His Resurrection with exceptional merriment. May this Sunday be unlike any other in the church calendar all year long.


What do you do for Easter? What does your church do? We’d love to hear from you ... just leave a comment at the end of this post.





 

My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)


As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.

In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.



 

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