Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Caroling and Jelly Beans

Have you heard the Easter Jelly Bean Prayer? I don't know the author, but I have had a copy of this unique poem in my Easter Folder for many years and have used it many times over. Enjoy the memories of Easter Caroling by the Youth at Brushton United Methodist Church with the help of the Easter Jelly Bean Prayer!

You may have heard the Easter Jelly Bean Prayer, but here it is in case you are not familiar with it:

 Easter Jelly Bean Prayer

Red is for the blood He gave,

Green is for the grass He made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright,
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins that were made,
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for the hour of sorrow,
Pink is for the new tomorrow.

A bag full of Jelly beans,

Colorful and sweet,
Is a a promise...
Is an Easter treat!

When I first heard the Easter Jelly Bean Prayer, I thought it was great. This poem is a special way to relate the Easter Story of the Resurrection of Christ to a common candy, the jelly bean. We shared it with our church one Easter and passed out bags of the 8 different colors of jelly beans, and they loved it!

One year, we decided to take the Easter Jelly Bean Prayer step further.

Before moving to the South, I attended Brushton United Methodist Church for many years. This church is a "country" Methodist Church in a small, rural community, and it sets on the side of a picturesque mountain. My house was located "down in the valley", and I could see the church from one of our windows. We could even hear the church bells on Sunday Morning from my home. I still get nostalgic thinking about it!

Brushton United Methodist Church
Although we had a small congregation, we had a really big group of kids that were called our "Youth Group". It was a group of mixed ages, ranging from elementary school to junior high and high school. I was privileged to be the Youth Leader for this special group of kids. We had our meetings on Wednesday nights during the weekly prayer meeting, and the youth in attendance often outnumbered the adults. Many of the kids lived nearby, and some of their parents did not attend services. These kids walked, or sometimes road 4-wheelers, to get to church. 

We all loved to sing. The kids sang at church services, and we sometimes took them "on the road" to sing at other churches. Our annual event before Christmas was to sing at the Town Center Mall. 

During one such Wednesday night meeting, I surprised the kids by asking, "Would you like to go Easter Caroling this year?" The expressions on their faces was priceless? Instantly I heard, "What?" "Easter Caroling?" "You've got to be kidding?" "I've never heard of Easter Caroling!"  

Honestly, I had never heard of Easter Caroling either, but I was always trying to come up with high-interest, low-cost ways to motivate the kids. I was always thankful for these outlandish ideas! We already had had an "Easter Tree Decorating Service" along with a Lent Cross and candles, so this seemed like the logical next step. Christmas Caroling followed by cookies and hot chocolate was a successful annual event, so we thought we would give it a try.

When buying the bags of jelly beans, we learned that not all jelly beans are created equal! We needed to find bags of jelly beans that had the 8 colors mentioned in the poem, and that's not as easy as it sounds. Also, there's not an equal number of each color in each bag, either, so it was a real lesson to us all! 

Brach's Classic has the right colors!

We put one of each of the 8 colors in a small bag, and sealed it tightly. Since our church's Spring Revival was coming up, I typed the Easter Jelly Bean Prayer and made a card which contained an invitation to the Revival. The card also listed the special singing for each night of the Revival. The bags of jelly beans were attached to the invitations, and we were ready to sing!

But what would we sing?

Also in my Easter folder were some Easter songs that had been written to the tune of familiar Christmas Carols. Our favorite was "Joy to the World" by Carol Ely.

   Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord arose!
No longer in death's grave!
He died on the cross
That we may live.
And now He lives again,
Oh, yes, He lives again!
He lives, He lives, He lives again!

Even the stones - cry out with joy,
"Behold, the Savior lives!"
No more shall sin
Or sorrow reign-
He's overcome the world!
He's overcome the world!
He lives, He lives, He lives again!

At each home, we passed out the invitation card containing the Easter Jelly Bean Prayer and a bag of jelly beans. We then jubilantly sang an Easter Carol and finished with my (not so famous) rewrite of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas": 

  We Wish You a Happy Easter

We wish you a Happy Easter,

We wish you a Happy Easter,
We wish you a Happy Easter,
Christ is Risen from the dead!

Our Easter Caroling was well attended by both youth and adults, and those who we sang to seemed very surprised and pleased. A great time was had by all. An Added Bonus: As was expected, the weather was much warmer than we had experienced when Christmas Caroling!

After the caroling, we returned to the church for snacks and, you guessed it, JELLY BEANS!!

I recently saw on Facebook that a church in the same area as our church was Easter Caroling, and I am so glad that the idea has spread. The Easter Caroling tradition is continuing!

A bag full of Jelly beans,
Colorful and sweet,
Is a a promise...
Is an Easter treat!

Happy Easter!!

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