April 5, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

World Celebrates Passion Week at Home

The coronavirus has forced most people to celebrate Easter week at home. But it can still be a unique time rich with meaning.

The streets of Jerusalem are empty; Rome is devoid of public gatherings, and most Christians around the world are experiencing something unthinkable just a few weeks ago: the holiest celebration of the year alone. Months of planning by churches for Easter music, sunrise services and celebrations have been canceled because of an invisible enemy: the SARS-CoV-2.

The change in plans doesn’t have to be a great loss. After all, the cross and the resurrection of Jesus were meant for individuals. Those who choose to follow Christ must come alone, just as they are. Bible reading, meditation and prayer are sometimes most fulfilling in the quietness of the human heart. Families, too, can draw nearer to God together at home in ways that may not be the same with the hubbub of church pageants and special music.

This will be an Easter like no other. Here are some suggestions to make it special in a new way.

Pastor-teacher Doug Bookman, founder of the Israel study program IBEX for the Master’s University, is teaching about each day of the passion week. You can hear his prior lessons on the Doug Bookman Facebook page. Each morning this week, he will be giving insight into the day’s events in last week of Christ as only someone can who has led trips to Israel for decades. He gives amazing insights into the culture, customs and politics of Jerusalem under Roman rule that explain why things happened as they did, and shed light on some puzzling passages in the gospels. You can also take Dr Bookman’s course on “Passion Week of Christ” at RightNow Media.

Watch the movie The Passion of the Christ that shows the brutality of what Jesus endured for sinners (rated R for brutality; not recommended for young children). The 2004 film was the biggest grossing independent film ever. Actor James Caviezel claims that the upcoming sequel about the resurrection, scheduled for 2021, “will be the biggest movie ever created.”

Read the Gospels’ accounts of the passion week:

Watch the Prophecies of the Passion from Illustra Media. This is one of documentaries Illustra is making free for viewing this month through May. In addition, you can learn a great deal about Christ and the gospel by watching the Lee Strobel Series, The Case for a Creator, The Case for Christ, and The Case for Faith.

Browse the short films at The John 10:10 Project website. These include helpful resources for Christ followers, such as true stories of the power of prayer, fuel for the journey, facing evil and suffering, and reaching the world. There are also short devotionals with beautiful nature photography put to hymns with Scriptures.

Send your comments about what you are doing for Easter week, and let us know if any of these resources were helpful.

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