What does a Virtual Easter and Holy Week look like? We are in the home stretch of Lent. The last week before our Lord will rise to conquer death is here. Hope springs eternal, and we are at home. How do we celebrate this most joyous Sunday socially distanced from our community?
Technology can seem scary and confusing. Just like being isolated because of a virus that we don’t totally understand can feel scary and confusing. Now is the time to take the leap of faith and give live-streaming your worship service a try. You can read more about the specific ins and outs of live-streaming in An In-depth Look at Live Streaming on the Worship Times Network.
There are other ways to use technology to create an interactive Holy Week and a virtual Easter. You can use social media posting with specific hashtags to increase engagement from community members. Choose to live-stream daily prayers, vigils, and services to foster connection. Whatever prayer resources and liturgies you use this week should be posted online for easy access and also available for download. Create forms for prayer requests or encourage people to use the chat function during services to share their praises and prayers.
Worship Times knows how important it is to find connection in the midst of this season. Here are a few ideas how to use technology in the coming week.
The word sacrifice, comes from the latin words sacra (meaning sacred things) and facere (to make, do, or perform). As we walk towards the cross this week, in what ways can you encourage your congregation to ‘make sacred’ their current situation and life? Here are a few ideas:
- Clean out your garage, closet, or junk drawer. Whatever space needs your attention most.
- Plant or plan your garden or clean and ready your yard for spring.
- Go for a walk. Make it intentional. Go slow. Feel your body move with each step, with each breath. Bring a little bit of gratitude for the natural world around you. Appreciate the life that grows around you.
- Drink water! Try to consume 75 ounces of water everyday.
- Make a prayer/meditation out of small tasks, like grinding your coffee beans. Say a prayer as you move each bean from the bag to the grinder. Savor the sacredness as you drink your morning coffee.
- Prepare your heart. Is there someone or a situation that you are holding anger against? Can you work through this hurt towards forgiveness? Maybe try this loving-kindness meditation.
- Notice the abundance in your life. The many wonderful things with which you are blessed. Out of this abundance, give your time, talent, or treasure to someone who is less fortunate than you are in this moment.
- Share the ways you are making sacred the everyday tasks of your life. (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, wherever you use social media.) Make a hashtag for your community, or try one of these #MakeSacred, #VirtualHolyWeek, or #VirtualEaster.
Breaking bread together is a core tenet of Christian faith, regardless of denomination. Sharing a meal and communing together is vital to who we are together. There are many online services that allow for a virtual meeting where screens can be shared and people can talk and chat.
Consider creating a Maundy Thursday mealtime service over Zoom or other real-time, online meeting tool. Your congregants can prepare their own food, and share in the communal act of breaking bread.
Good Friday/Holy Friday
Sunset prayer vigils are one popular way to observe Good Friday. One way to transform in-person vigils is to provide an online live-stream option. Another option would be to encourage your community to go for a walk outside at sunset. Create a prayer vigil service resource that folks can either access online, or download and print to take with them. Bringing the service into their hands, requiring them to be present in an entirely new way.
Perhaps this vigil turns into a fast from social media, screens, or technology from Friday at sunset until Sunday morning. Take time to reflect on the past forty days. Before the time of isolation began, when our season of preparation began. We truly are on a journey together that we never anticipated.
Virtual Easter Sunday
The time for celebration, the exaltation of joy will arrive sooner than we know. Whether you opt for a sunrise service, a mid-morning, or evening service, do consider going online with a live-stream. There are many, many options available to do so easily and affordably. Again, we encourage you to check out An In-Depth Look at Live-Streaming on the Worship Times Network for details on how to live-stream.
Along with your live-streamed service, consider creating a Prayer Request form that can be shared in real time during the service. Congregants can fill it out while the service is happening and hear their prayers read during the Prayers of the People. Connecting their current reality with the service they are experiencing online makes it feel more ‘real.’
Post the liturgy you are going to use online so that community members can follow along and participate as they feel led. Do have these available on the website, but also make them available to download. If you know you have congregants that will be calling in for the service instead of watching it online, consider sending them a copy of the liturgy in the mail or perhaps by email. Finding all of the ways to include everyone in the service.
Virtual Communion/Eucharist Resources per Denomination
Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday do bring up the question of virtual Communion, also known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper. There are many differing opinions on whether or not the sacrament can and should be done online. Some denominations are encouraging the virtual act, others are advising against performing the sacrament online. We’ve gathered the resources we could find from denomination websites. If you don’t see your denomination below and know where the resources can be found, please let us know.
Every church will need to decide how they want to handle the sacrament for their congregation.
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