Preparing to Preach on Easter Sunday

Preparing to Preach on Easter Sunday

In the last two posts we looked at some tips for preaching during the Lenten season.  Lent, of course, culminates in the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  So in this post and the next I want to look at preparing to preach on Easter Sunday in your church.  Easter is, without a doubt, the biggest holiday in the Church year.  People who rarely make a showing in your church will come on Easter (depending on the Covid situation this year), and will come expecting a powerful sermon.  So, what can you do in preparing to preach on Easter Sunday that will make it a powerful day?  Here are some tips.

Keep The Service Fairly Simple

I remember one Easter when we were trying to make a splash, a big impression.  A woman in our church had

He is not here! He is risen…!

made an almost-full-sized tomb out of paper mache,  and we placed it prominently on the stage.  Inside the tomb we placed a very bright halogen light.  Then we created a combination of songs and readings and drama, including the women coming to the tomb.  The climax of the story was to be the voice of the angel, who was off stage.  The angel would say, “He is not here.  He has risen, just as he said.”  (Matthew 28:6).  At that moment a volunteer was going to plug in the light, which would blaze from inside the tomb.

Where’s the light?

Unfortunately, when the choir walked into the choir loft, someone had tripped over the extension chord that went to the light in the tomb.  So, there was no light when the offstage volunteer plugged it in on her end.  Our angel reader, seeing that no light had come one, decided to repeat his line: “He is not here.  He has risen.”  Still no light.

But the volunteer figured out what was wrong and began to crawl into the choir loft, which was in the front of the worship center, whispering loudly for someone to plug the light back into the extension chord.

The angel, meanwhile, continued to repeat his line, but was less certain with each attempt.  He is not here.  He has risen.  Instead of coming with an exclamation point, the statement became a question.  His fourth time of repeating the line it came out, “He is not here?  He has risen?”  And finally the light came on.

The Lesson

Needless to say, people remembered that service, but for the wrong reasons.  Don’t try to do too much in a service, lest you distract from the exciting message about the resurrection.  Yes, the service needs to have some things that attest to the greatest event in all of human history.  But don’t try to do too much, or you may find yourself distracted along with your people.  When preparing to preach on Easter Sunday don’t try to do too much in the service.

Read Your Audience When Preparing To Preach on Easter

A second tip is to read your audience when you are going to preach on Easter Sunday in your church.  What have they faced in this past year?  This year, of course, we have been facing Covid 19, which has created a host of losses.  In the United States it is now estimated that 10% of us have lost someone through death as a result of this virus.  Jobs have been lost.  A sense of security and dependability is gone.  Businesses shut down.  Schooling for children went virtual, and social interaction was lost.

That’s a lot of loss.  You may want to make that your theme: the God who turns loss around by bringing new life.

On the other hand, your congregation may need to look ahead.  Then you can make your theme something about the God who calls us to go into the world, and promises us that he will be with us.

Perhaps your church has gone through a difficult year with conflict.   I know of many churches that faced conflict because of a requirement to wear masks.  If so, then make reconciliation part of your theme.

When preparing to preach on Easter Sunday prayerfully ask God for insight into what of the many possible themes you should choose for your message.

Griffin Thomas

In the next post, we’ll look at some Scriptural themes that can bless your church.  But as you prepared, meditate on this advice from a preacher from previous years: Griffin Thomas.  He gave this encouragement to young preachers:

“Think yourself empty; read yourself full; write yourself clear; pray yourself clean, and then enter the pulpit and let yourself go.”