In the ways that we would normally do, this year we will not wash one another’s feet or observe our Lord’s last supper, but we can keep our Lord’s commandment to his disciples and love one another as Jesus loved them. We will not carry large wooden crosses into our places of worship and join others in public acts of adoration, but we can each give thanks privately for Jesus’ obedience even to death on a cross, and contemplate what it means to deny ourselves, take up our own cross and follow the one who died for us. We will not adorn our churches with flowers, dress in Easter finery or shout “Alleluia!” with crowds of worshipers, but we can join all of creation in praising God, we can rejoice in the good news that God raised Jesus from the grave on that first Easter morning, and we can watch for signs of God bringing new life from death in every situation. We will not celebrate Holy Week and Easter in the ways that we might choose, but we can join others around the world in finding new ways to proclaim “Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.”
During the time that our public worship has been suspended and we have lived under “stay at home” orders, I have neither received communion nor celebrated the Eucharist. This has been my choice and a reflection of my own piety. Instead, I have worshiped with others using liturgies that have been broadcast on Facebook “live” or recorded and shared in other ways. I give thanks to God for those who have found new and creative ways to worship, to hold community together, and to care for the most isolated and vulnerable in our world. My own prayer has been rooted in the Daily Offices and has been particularly rich, as I remember: those who have contracted COVID-19, those who have died, and their families who mourn; those nurses, doctors and other health care workers whose response has been heroic; those who have lost jobs and struggle to pay their bills, and those reaching out to them in compassion; those, like teachers and students, who have reinvented themselves on short notice; those faithfully staying in their homes to help halt the spread of this virus, and those without homes or safe places to live, whose struggle is so much greater.
While I look forward to the day when we can open our doors, leave our homes, return to “normal” life, and celebrate the Eucharist in gathered communities, this Easter it is my hope and prayer that we will experience a “resurrection” that includes a renewed focus on God’s mission, a mission that will extend far beyond the walls of our church buildings and will utilize our newly acquired skills to strengthen relationships and meet human need across all boundaries. May this Easter be for us a time of resurrection beyond anything we could ever imagine!
Yours in Christ,