We now know that most of us will not be able to remember and celebrate Holy Week with the same traditions, gatherings, and events that we look forward to every year. Typically, many churches pray that God will use this week to draw people in so we can share with them the good news of God’s grace and salvation.
But this year, the church has left the building. And with this unexpected change, each of us has an opportunity to share the good news through our words and actions right where we are living.
Many of us have now been present in our neighborhoods almost 24/7 for a few weeks. What have you observed about your neighborhood during that time? Your observations are clues to how you can love, serve, and share the good news of Holy Week with your community. The following acts of micro-neighborliness were compiled by Resonate Global Mission Local Mission Leaders and their ministry partners:
Have you noticed a lot of children in your neighborhood?
- Throw plastic eggs filled with wrapped candy into our neighbor’s yards one night before Easter. Put a note on their doors telling them to enjoy an egg hunt together as a family, along with an Easter greeting from you. The note should also say that the eggs were disinfected (using a disinfectant spray or wipe).
- Offer a story time for kids online. You may want to read secular Easter books, or from a children’s Bible storybook, or a mixture of both. If you are going to be reading from a children’s Bible, make the parents aware of this in your invitation. The Jesus Storybook Bible is well-written with beautiful pictures!
- Lead an art class online, helping the children create an Easter craft with simple supplies. Maybe it is something they can hang in their window or put in their front yard, where they can enjoy one another’s creations!
- Have a walking/biking parade in the neighborhood with proper social distancing. Musicians are a bonus.
Have you noticed a lot of walkers in your neighborhood?
- Choose a couple of the Stations of the Cross to recreate in your front yard. You could work with other Christian neighbors to expand it throughout your neighborhood. Instead of using this as an opportunity to try to convince people of the truth of the story, consider how you can invite them into the story. Where does our current context meet the emotions and events of Good Friday and Easter?
- Put a sign in your front lawn, saying: “We are praying for you. Share specific prayer requests by texting ----.” (You may want to set up a phone number for this purpose using Google Voice.)
- Join in with households around the world by putting a picture of a rainbow in your window. As Christians, we know the rainbow is a sign of hope in the midst of despair and destruction!
- If you have someone with musical talent in your household, take your instrument outside and offer a mini-concert to those passing by.
Have you noticed households where people are not coming outside? They could be more isolated due to age or health status.
- Call or leave a note at their house inviting them to call you, even if it is just for a conversation.
- Offer to help them with Spring clean-up yard work.
Have you noticed healthcare workers, coming or going in their scrubs?
- Put a heart in your window for #HeartsForHealthcareWorkers.
- Drop a thank-you note in their mailbox or inbox.
- Offer to order them a takeout, delivery meal when they get home from a long shift.
As we near Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter, we can learn from one of Resonate’s international missionaries, who delivers home-baked bread to his non-Christian neighbors on Easter, saying, “Today is the most important day of the year for Christians because we believe Jesus died and rose again, and I want to share my joy with you.”
How will you share your Easter joy with neighbors this year?
- Groups of people can do a virtual dinner—all eat at the same time—and have dinner conversation together over Zoom. After the meal, they can reflect on what it was like for Jesus and the disciples to have their last meal together and what Jesus was modeling for them. Depending on direction from their local church elders, they could end by having communion together, either with their own bread/wine/juice or with the individually packaged ones that the church offers.
- Bring groceries to a neighbor who is not able to get to the grocery store.
- Create a music playlist of your favorite Good Friday hymns and worship songs. Share this playlist with your friends, and invite them to comment on which songs are most meaningful to them.
- Hang black cloth outside your residence. Consider all of the things that people are mourning right now and how we can walk together in this time of grieving.
- Take this day to walk your neighborhood and to pray intentionally for every neighbor and household. Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal Christ to them, shape them in the character of Christ, and equip them for the mission of Christ.
- Contact a local florist or greenhouse to see if they have flowers they can’t sell at this time. Offer to purchase them and deliver them to the doorsteps of your neighbors.
- If you’ve hung black cloth for Good Friday, now change it out for bright, white cloth.
- Line your driveway or sidewalk with simple luminaries. John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”