Easter in the Season of COVID-19

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A Belated Thank You and Easter Reflection!

I want to offer a grateful “Thank you” to all who worked so hard to provide the opportunity to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection.  “Thank you,” to preachers who had to stand alone, in empty rooms encouraging unseen crowds to glimpse the miracle of Resurrection while being held hostage to an unseen enemy.  “Thank you” to worship leaders and teams for creating a space in our homes and hearts for the risen Lord.  And, an enormous thanks to the behind-the-scenes tech people who made virtual community possible on such short notice.

Yet, despite the incredible effort, the virtual could not produce the ritual, pageantry, and spectacle of a traditional Easter celebration.  Small screens could not replace packed rooms, and Facebook memes couldn’t replace smiling faces and generous hugs.

Nevertheless, I felt closer to Resurrection Sunday, A.D. 33 than I have for many years.  Huddled at home against my will, anxious, fearful, my faith stretched by COVID-19, a delicate social fabric—these birthed a quiet inner compassion connecting me to Mary, Solome, Peter, John, and the other followers of a dead prophet.  I retraced the Sunday morning story with my own fragile heart, seeing the disciples with a new awareness: huddled, hopeless, broken-hearted, shattered, reeling from the horrific trauma that had engulfed them.  They weren’t looking forward to an Easter Sunday.  Friday had decimated them!  Armed assailants, abuse, and unrestrained evil had trampled their hopeful hearts.  How could a victory parade and intimate supper turn horrific so quickly?  Where were these terrorized disciples on Sunday morning?  They were clinging to each other, overwhelmed with fear, sorrow, confusion, and all-consuming grief. The women’s love-soaked sorrow moved them to do the right thing—the only thing left for love to do; honor the dead body of their beloved master.

Easter is more than a One-Time Event

The Resurrection story was not simply a one-time event.  Rather, Resurrection is an ongoing invitation to a new way of being.  For the early Jesus followers, the Resurrection drew them out of their despair and into God’s story. The risen Christ brought His traumatized, hopeless, confused followers into the reality and experience of His Resurrection.  Slowly.  Compassionately.  He lovingly brought them through grief and confusion and gave them a new perspective, Presence, and purpose.  Their hearts would let go of an earthly kingdom to embrace an eternal Kingdom.  His physical presence would be gone, but God’s presence would be in them.  They would not be a people of power, but people of transforming love, touching, and changing eternity.

The Romans weren’t defeated; the Jewish leaders thought they had won; the crowds returned to their per-messiah lives.  However, the world would never be the same, and neither would the disciples—or us.

Easter is Transformative!

I wonder what story I will write over the next fifty days?  Will I stay with my huddled heart?  Will I believe that Jesus has risen? Or will fear, anxiety and expectations blind me to the present, resurrected Lord?.  Will I cling to a traditional Easter celebration, or experience transformational Resurrection?

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