Easter was very different this year. The church wasn’t packed. The cross wasn’t decorated for the sunrise service. There wasn’t a line at restaurants. This year on Easter Sunday, wasn’t happened all over the place. And yet, all around me I did see how Easter was happening. A cross of flowers ended up in our cemetery. People from this congregation sang Jesus Christ is Risen Today with a joyful noise to an entire world using social media. I heard of families around us “egging” other homes, hiding Easter eggs in their yard. Cards were sent and received. Calls were made. Families went on Facetime to not only talk to each other, but to see each other. We held a virtual coffee hour Easter morning simply to check in with one another.
So for all that wasn’t, it was neat to see all that was.
When I read the story of that first Easter, I realize that a lot happened that was, and a lot happened that wasn’t. First and foremost, Jesus was raised from death. Understand, this happens with or without us. Easter is not about our celebrations and traditions, it’s about God resurrecting his Son and winning the victory over death. But our response to this holy and miraculous act does include our traditions and celebrations.
At the first Easter, there was much fear and confusion. Hundreds of people weren’t all dressed up and gathered by that empty tomb shouting “Alleluia”. Instead, there was a lot of running. There was belief and disbelief. There was confusion and doubt. There was simultaneously fear and great joy. That first Easter was very different than the Easter’s we look forward to in this age.
As a pastor, I missed being in the presence of our worshiping community not only at Easter, but throughout Holy Week. I missed all that wasn’t. But to be completely honest, there was a silent peace that permeated my soul as I prayed on my porch, sent reflections online, and slept in a longer than I normally do on Easter morning. Easter happened with or without me. It always does.
But even though Easter doesn’t need us, it does want us. As the body of Christ we are called to be voices of faith, hope, and love because of this extraordinary and holy event. I’m feeling grateful today that we are invited into this remarkable celebration each year – to remember, to reflect, and to be the church however we are called and sent in a particular time and place. We continue to be God’s people, even when we’re isolated from each other and proclaiming online. Whether we’re filled with fear or great joy, or both at the same time, we are and forever will be Easter people. He is risen! #he is risen indeed, Alleluia!
In God’s peace,