Easter will be different this year. Social distancing will make it impossible to attend church in many places, although I have heard some churches may defy the orders for one day. I find that a bit contradictory.
During one of the press conferences our governor held recently, a reporter asked if she was canceling Easter this year. She chuckled and responded she didn’t think she had the authority to cancel Easter. She did mandate limiting the number of people allowed in a church service or funeral to 10. However, in a recent turn of events, the governor issued an executive order to prevent churches from Easter Sunday services. The order was promptly overturned and is now in the hands of the state supreme court for a decision to be issued sometime today.
Avid churchgoers like fellowshipping with one another. When I was involved with the church I never did get into the “turn and shake someone’s hand and say ‘Jesus loves you’” directive. I’m highly selective about who I allow into my personal bubble and being told I must allow someone into my personal bubble doesn’t generally set well. If I were to attend a church now I would be nearly apoplectic if someone were to invade my space uninvited. For those who like that sort of thing, Easter will be difficult this year.
And what about family celebrations? Are family gatherings to be limited to 10 and how is that going to be monitored? Are backyard Easter egg hunts going to be marked by social distancing? Do we risk gathering in the first place? Too many questions remain unanswered on an average day as we navigate the germy waters of this pandemic much less when days in question are holidays.
Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Wasn’t the message Jesus conquered death, death could not keep Him in the grave? We are currently in a grave, are we not? The COVID-19 pandemic has killed countless thousands, and likely many more will die before this is over. We can conquer death, too, the death of our nation, if we could all get on the same page.
COVID-19 doesn’t have a political affiliation, does not care if we are African American, Hispanic, Asian, white, or of Native American descent, young or old, male or female or gender-neutral. COVID-19 is a viral satan lurking about like a roaring lion seeking whom it may devour. Is not Easter for many also a celebration of release from captivity, captivity to our fallen natures, sins, and base desires that do not serve a higher purpose?
And finally, Easter is a celebration of new beginnings and renewal. In many cities in the world, the pandemic has cleared pollution’s haze. The earth is being cleansed and can breathe in the fresh air for the first time in many decades.
As we celebrate Easter, I pray we wake to a new appreciation for the value of family and friends many have not seen since this plague gripped our nation. I pray we are renewed in our appreciation for the freedoms we have taken for granted. I pray that we collectively agree to do what is necessary to end our captivity to the COVID-19 virus. I pray our nation resurrects as a kinder more compassionate nation…..