EASTER IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
This Easter will be unlike any other. There will be no Easter egg hunts at church or on Summit’s Village Green. The Easter baskets might not be quite as full, unless we managed to buy everything ahead or ordered everything online. The day will not include going to church or gathering with family members and friends from out of town. And, of course, there is the news that weighs on our minds. People are still getting sick and still struggling for each breath in the hospital where doctors and nurses will spend their holiday doing holy work. Families are mourning the death of someone they cherished—a life lost without the customary celebration of it with others. Folks have lost their jobs, and with it their health insurance, as they worry, in addition to what will happen to them if they get sick, about how they are going to pay for the basic necessities of life like food and shelter. This Easter will be unlike any other.
However, the story of Easter remains. It is the story of God, who meets folks when it seems like the whole earth is shaking and falling apart. As Matthew tells it, there was an earthquake that first Easter morning. And as the women followers of Jesus left his empty tomb, frightened and confused, Jesus met them right then and there with the promise that, as they went through the days ahead, they would see him.
“Have you seen Jesus, my Lord?” we sang in an old song that I learned at camp when I was much younger. “He’s here in plain view.” And I think that’s true. He’s here in the signs of spring bursting out all around us. He’s here in the ways so many have rallied to care for others by staying home. He’s here in the work being done by people we have, in the past, ignored, but whose work, we now glimpse, is the work that is really essential for all of us. He’s here in the hospital room, with the patient frightened and alone, in the hand of the nurse who, though garbed in protective gear, still manages to communicate a human connection, so precious and sweet. Even in the midst of a pandemic, it is still Easter, and it is still the case: Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
–Pastor Don Steele