By Tori Smit
Easter is coming and churches are beginning to wonder how they might celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in a meaningful and wonder-filled way when we can’t come together, in one place, and shout out ‘Alleluia’ at the top of our lungs. How do we celebrate Easter this year in this strange land?
I have an idea.
What if we could shout our Alleluias through the colour and witness of Easter butterflies, breaking forth into our neighbourhoods and spreading the Good News that Jesus is risen, He is risen indeed.
This is how it might happen.
At the beginning of Holy Week, email or phone your congregational members, not just the families with children – all the congregational members. Ask them each to colour or make any kind of butterfly they wish over the course of the week to be ‘launched’ on Easter morning. They have the whole week to do this assignment. Give them permission for their butterflies to be as complicated or as simple as they wish – this should be a delight and not a chore. Ask that each person make a butterfly, and more if they wish.
Let them know they can download a butterfly colouring sheet off of Google images, or a find a butterfly craft on Pinterest if they’re not sure what they want to do. Watered-down food colouring can be painted on round coffee filters, scrunched in the middle and held together with a clothespin to make a colourful tie-dyed butterfly. Butterflies made with tissue paper squares folded like a fan and twisted in the middle with pipe cleaners take only minutes to make.
If you want to make it as easy as possible as you can for your people, you can purchase a wonderful Alleluia butterfly colouring sheet from Illustrated Ministry and attach the file to your email: https://store.illustratedministry.com/collections/coloring-sheets-posters/products/alleluia-butterfly-coloring-sheet-poster
While they’re making butterflies ask them to invite their friends to make butterflies too, whether they go to your church or not. The more butterflies the better. Did you know a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope? We’re working towards a kaleidoscope of butterflies for Easter!
Ask everyone to hang their butterflies in their front windows early in the morning on Easter day for all the world to see and hear their shouts of Alleluia. They may wish to create an Alleluia message to accompany their butterflies in their window display. If they are able to walk through their neighbourhood, have them go explore and see if others have Easter Alleluia messages in their windows, too.
Ask them to take photos of their window displays and forward them to a designated person in your church. Have this person create a photo collage of them all for your church website, and use them as headers for all of the emails being sent out by the church over the days ahead. Eastertide is season that goes on for 50 days until Pentecost Sunday. There’s lots of time and opportunity to share our Alleluia butterflies with the world.
And then, when they take down their window displays, ask them to save all of their butterflies in a safe place until you are able to come together for worship in your church building once again. Have everyone bring their butterflies to the church that first Sunday back.
Collect all of the butterflies as everyone comes into worship and have a team of people ready to hang them in your sanctuary in a special and meaningful way. You may wish to pin the butterflies to a large fabric banner, display them on the communion table, or pin them onto a white piece of fabric draped over the arms of an Easter cross.
Whatever you choose to do celebrate the Alleluias of Easter together on that day; celebrating that Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia!