When the children were small, getting everyone ready for Easter Sunday could be a bit stressful. But now that our nest is empty, my husband and I attend a sunrise service. There is something very special about rising before dawn to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. As we gather on the church’s lawn, the crisp spring air is not only moist with morning dew; it is also heavy with anticipation. As we sing “Up From the Grave He Arose,” I can hardly contain my joy. By the time we get to the last chorus, the sun begins to rise over the rolling hills just beyond the church. And the hope that rests in my heart rises right along with it.
—Babbie Mason, singer, songwriter, and author of This I Know for Sure
For me, the Good Friday service is essential to celebrating Easter, and it should reflect the heaviness, sorrow, and darkness of the original day. I don’t want a Good Friday service to be a prequel to Easter Sunday, a veiled celebration of the resurrection: It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a-comin’! I want to stand at the cross as stricken and heartbroken as the first disciples. I want to leave weeping. For one, it makes me face the weight and cost of my sin. And then, it makes Easter Sunday and its triumphant announcement—“He is risen!”—as gladsome and transforming as the original day.
—Mark Buchanan, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, Ambrose University, and author of Your Church Is Too Safe
The Easter season is always characterized by joy in my home. Nevertheless, I am most impacted by attending the Good Friday service at my church. I live daily in the light of Jesus’ resurrection, but I need to be reminded of the horrific nature of my sin, the enormous price Christ was willing to pay to rescue me, and the incalculable debt I now owe Him as a result. I leave the service each year inspired with new resolve to live my life in a manner worthy of the Savior who selflessly died for me.
—Richard Blackaby, President of Blackaby Ministries International and author of The Seasons of God
Years ago, when our children were still small, we used to go to the White House at Easter. Don’t get the wrong idea—we weren’t actually invitees to the President’s official egg hunt, but we still enjoyed being there in such a beautiful location, and we would bring our own eggs to find. We’d spread them out on the lawn outside the fence, with the White House in view, and watch the kids joyfully scour the green grass. Those moments were pure joy for us, and they never failed to remind me of the greater joy that comes from knowing Christ—the One who searches for us and makes His life our own.
—Bob Goff, founder of Restore International and author of Love Does