Ecumenical Easter Invitation urges Christians to make a witness

By  Jean Hawxhurst
Three of the main ecumenical organizations in the United States of America have come together this Easter to promote a unified witness to our shared faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Bishop Teresa Jefferson Snorton is the President of Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) and the Ecumenical Officer of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.  Rev. Carlos Malavé is the Executive Director of Christian Churches Together (CCT) and a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in the USA.  And, Mr. Jim Winkler is the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) and a dedicated United Methodist lay person. 

These three leaders gathered via Zoom video conference two weeks ago to explore what a visible witness to unity might look like for Christians confined to their homes during Holy Week.  What they came up with is a campaign that is being shared via social media across the country.
The invitation proclaims the promise from the Gospel of John (1:5) that the “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness [cannot] overcome it.”  It invites Christians across the country (both of the Western Easter tradition and the Orthodox Easter tradition) to consider sharing in one or more of several acts of visible witness, including:
  • sharing in a home foot washing on Holy Thursday,
  • sharing in prayers at home on Good Friday, that include extinguishing light.
  • hanging Christmas lights, or other lights, on Holy Saturday, then turning them on first thing Easter morning during what might have been the time for a Sunrise Service.
  • writing in chalk on the driveway or sidewalk the words “Christ is Risen!”
  • ringing the church bells at noon on Easter Day.
  • standing outside for a few moments to pray outside on Easter Day.
  • *or, viewing an additional online service of a church of another racial or ethnic background and offering prayers for that faith community.
The invitation includes a poster to be shared as widely as possible, and a coloring sheet that can be hung in the window or on the door.  The organizers hope that this witness will spread across their particular country, and they hope that other Christians and ecumenical organizations will pick it up all over the world as well.
Light overcoming darkness is a life-giving message appropriate for all of us during these difficult days.  It is the message of Easter, and despite any differences among Christians this year, it may be the perfect time for us to come together and make a powerful witness to Christ’s resurrecting power.

Please share these resources with your congregations and friends!