Neighborhood Sunrise Celebrations
Easter Is Coming…
There are two times of the year when it is not only “ok” to be Christian, but it is expected that you can and will do something to celebrate. These are Christmas and Easter. This became more of a reality to me while we were still in India. The majority of people in that city of 11 million are Hindu, but there are more than one million Muslims, a good number of Catholics, and a sprinkling of several other religions. On our floor of the apartment complex were a Buddhist family, a Muslim family, three Hindu families, and us. About a week or so before Easter a Hindu neighbor asked if we were going to do anything for the community to celebrate Easter. The Baptist hospital where I was a board member had a great sunrise service on the roof open for anyone to attend.
This is in a place where Christian persecution is high, many national friends have faced terrible retribution for their faith. But on Easter there was acceptance and expectation. This is a real chance to get the message out that we are different and to be beacons of “light” in our communities. Increasingly, persecution of Christian beliefs and principles are on the rise right here in the US. It is no longer the “right” thing to do to be a Christian that talks about and demonstrates your faith. We are living in a very challenging time where we regularly see the fabric of our “Christian nation” being torn apart. I want to challenge us all to take advantage of the opportunity that celebrating Easter provides. We will have our regular service times on Easter Sunday, April 1, at First Baptist. If you are in town, please invite friends and family to join you for corporate worship. I also ask you to consider doing something different in your individual neighborhoods…
Consider joining with another family or two and hosting an Easter “Neighborhood Sunrise Celebration” at your home in the driveway, on the deck, at a clubhouse or just in the yard. You could even use your garage or living room if the weather is not conducive Easter morning. You can post a notice on your neighborhood Facebook page or on your community news site (like Nextdoor), if you have one. You can also just catch your neighbors when they are outside and invite them (avoid putting things in peoples’ mailboxes). Have them bring lawn chairs and/or blankets, invite the kids and celebrate together!
Sunrise will be right at 6:53 a.m. Have some coffee/hot chocolate and snacks if you want, keep it simple and easy. Follow this LINK for some suggestions to help you plan the service including songs and some possible music, a short children’s lesson and activity, Scripture reading, and a suggested Easter devotion by Henry Blackaby, Billy Graham or one that is your favorite. Start and end with a prayer time including asking for prayer requests. You can plan on 20-30 minutes for everything. The important thing is to celebrate our risen Savior and proclaim your devotion to Him through this special holiday. If others join you, all the better!
All of us can do this, we don’t have to have some special “leadership” mantle, just be followers of the Risen One! If no one else shows up, you should still celebrate Jesus’ victory over death. Afterward, if you go to the early service, invite your neighbors to go with you. If you go to one of the other services, then invite neighbors to have breakfast together (everyone bring something or go somewhere), then invite them to come with you to the services.
Minister of Evangelism and Missions, FBC Fort Mill