An Easter morning without a huge service – how strange – how unusual. No packed-out churches because of the overflow from folks who only go to church on Easter morning (and Christmas Eve). No resonating of hundreds of voices boldly declaring in song, “Up from the Grave He arose!” (or some modern substitution). It is going to be different.
And yet, this year we have the opportunity to celebrate Easter in the manner most closely resembling the very first Easter.
Have you read the Bible when it comes to the first Easter? Do you recall the story?
During the trials and the crucifixion of God’s Son most of the disciples went into hiding. Following the death of Jesus, there was a fear of leaving their homes. Moving among the people might be dangerous. So, for their safety, they were huddled in small trusted groups or alone in their homes.
“Easter” morning a few ladies ventured out, received good news, and returned to the house where some of His followers were sequestered. Two ventured out after that, but quickly returned home.
Even when the news of His resurrection was slowly made known, there is no Biblical record of His followers initially running out to gather and celebrate in large groups to announce the Good News. That would come much later.
They celebrated in their small groups and with select family. Along with a certain amount of confusion and disbelief, there was an excitement, but it was contained in small units across Jerusalem. Perhaps they repeated the events of what we now call “taking communion.” Maybe a small feast was served, and the good wine pulled from storage. Surely, they prayed, surely, they rejoiced. But it was done in small gatherings. It was intimate. It was family focused. It was the first Easter. HE HAS RISEN!