Given the speed with which this Pandemic has changed our lives, I hesitate to write anything a week before this issue of the Bell is published. If I had written it just 2 weeks earlier, we would still have been permitted to engage in face-to-face worship! Who knows what will be happening the first week in April?
But I know a couple things that we can count on as the month of April unfolds. Easter will happen April 12. I have heard at least one political leader express his hope that our pews would once again be packed for Easter -- as if that would rescue us from some malaise of suspended face-to-face worship. But that would be a misunderstanding of the Gospel. The Risen Christ was not stopped by the stone covering the tomb. The soldiers outside were not able to derail Easter. All the might and power of the Empire could not stop New Life from springing forth. Centuries of calamity, war, pestilence and plague have not diminished the promise of Easter. COVID-19 will not prevent Easter from happening. Nor will it prevent the church from being the church. Every day I hear new stories of how this community of faith is reaching out and reaching in to discover new avenues for service and spiritual growth.
Easter has not been canceled. Yes, we canceled the flowers. We canceled the special musicians; we suspended choir rehearsals. We postponed changing out some of our enhancements. But Easter will still happen April 12. In my career as a clergy person, I have never experienced an Easter when we did not gather face-to-face. This year will be different -- but will still be Easter.
My hope is that you will join us for the on-line experiences of Holy Week. You’ll find a Maundy Thursday worship and Easter morning worship on our web page and on Facebook. Our daily check-ins will continue as will our daily music meditations. And when it is safe to gather face-to-face, I suggest we celebrate a “Second Easter.” We’ll include our favorite Easter hymns, some special music and Easter flowers. And much later we’ll talk about that year when we had two Easters.
Here’s the second thing that we can count on as the month of April unfolds. God will be with us. In all the anxiety and disruption, through the uncertainties and financial turmoil, God will walk with us through this wilderness. And we will witness new dimensions of care and giving. We will witness extraordinary acts of grace and sharing. Opportunities to be agents of grace and care and healing will be placed before us like they never have before. And much later we’ll talk about the year when we had two Easters -- and the Church shined in an extraordinary way.
With Great Hope,
Rev. Nathan Miller