The Emmaus Road Easter weekend started off solemn as the church family was invited to attend a Good Friday Tenebrae service. The service was structured to allow attendees the opportunity to relive Jesus’ journey to the cross.
The majority of the service centered around four readers reading excerpts of Jesus’ last hours before his death. As they read, the lights were slowly dimmed and candles were extinguished to symbolize the dark and solemn nature of the story. Carefully selected hymns were also sung, interspersed among the readings. To conclude the service, Pastor Andy removed the remaining light candle, the Christ candle, and blew it out, leaving everyone in darkness. This symbolically depicted the darkness that lay over the world, prior to Christ’s resurrection.
As a continuation of Holy Week, the church hosted an all-day Prayer Vigil on Holy Saturday. For the event, individuals were encouraged to sign up for an hour time-slot throughout the day.
When individuals arrived they were prompted at seven different stations to read scripture, participate in a family-friendly activity, and pray for specific needs either listed, recommended, or personal. This wonderful event was a fantastic way to transition from Lent to Eastertide and gave families the opportunity to pray together for extended amounts of time.
As the bookend of the Easter Weekend, the church gathered together for an Easter Party at 9:00am, followed by a worship service at 10:00 am. During the Easter Party, families were encouraged to spend time in the courtyard with their children. There was a large bouncy castle to play in, a take-home craft, and sweet treats! Thankfully, with beautiful weather, many took advantage of these activities and it was a good time enjoyed by all!
A special part of the Easter Sunday worship service were the family-friendly, family-lead, aspects throughout the service. These included: several middle school girls joining the worship team to sing, as well as families assisting to serve communion and take up the offering.
An additional special aspect of the service centered around baptism. The church was thrilled to celebrate with two believers as they shared their testimony and were baptized. Following the baptism, four regular attendees were welcomed into the church body as covenant partners. These were such special highlights for all in attendance.
Overall, the 2017 Easter weekend was both special and meaningful, filled with symbolic and liturgical components balanced with family-friendly fun!