To get the full picture of what Easter is like on our ships, we must back up to Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent. During Lent, about 6 weeks before Easter, many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, self-denial, and spiritual disciplines. The crew are encouraged to participate a daily Bible reading plan that focuses on the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Ash Wednesday is when this time begins with a morning service in which we can have a cross of ash put on our forehead. Not everyone attends (it is a 7:00AM service), but many do, including our students.
Before Holy Week (the week before Easter), our students can help in decorating our ship too. The ship transforms into a place helps the crew to reflect and celebrate on the Easter Season. During the week before Easter, many events happen through the ship.
Here is sample list:
- Palm Sunday – singing and drama
- Academy Easter Play
- Kids Seder Meal – the meaning and representation of the last supper of Jesus.
- Easter Movies
- School devotional times focusing on Easter
- Prayer in Gethsemane (time of silent prayer in a garden setting)
- Seder meal for all crew
- Tenebrae Service (Good Friday) – dramatic telling of the trial, sentencing, execution, death, and burial of Jesus.
- Easter crafts for kids of all ages
On Easter Sunday, we have a sunrise service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Then there is a Continental Breakfast for all the crew before our morning Easter Worship Service. Imagine an international crew expressing how they celebrate Easter! This is a very colorful and exciting time.
After the morning Worship Service, the ship galley hosts an amazing brunch for all the crew. It is an amazing sight to see all the different dishes and displays of food. There are many local flowers and decorations. The dinner room is transformed as the crew, dress for the celebration, comes to partake in the meal. The normal mealtimes on the ship are good, but to see the Easter Brunch in the dining room is truly a sight to see.
It is fun to watch the children on the ship during the Easter Season and as a father of twins, it a special to remember what Jesus did for us as a family. I am so thankful that I have had many Easter on a ship in Africa and I will always appreciate the creative ways that I have been able to experience. I know that as an adult, these ship Easter events has changed the way that I view Easter and I know that this is also true for the children on the ship.
“He is risen, He is risen, indeed!”