God is with us
Beloved people of Emmanuel (God-is-with-us),
For me this Holy Week of 2020 was more poignant that those I’ve experienced before. Emmanuel put together Worship Care Packets from Palm to Easter Sunday. I joined with other churched to create online worship experiences for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. And, I have to admit, I was pooped by the time Easter came!
But though I toasted the Alleluia late night on Saturday, though I sang with all my heart, though I ate way too much ham and potatoes (not to mention chocolate from Easter eggs!) I still felt like we were waiting, stuck on pause in Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
I identified more with the disciples locked away in fear than I ever have in years past. It has been hard not to obsessively check for news updates, to look for statistics and pundit’s explanations, to seek knowledge to calm my own fears. The unknown is the scariest boogie man in my imagination.
I am locked behind my door, literally and figuratively. I am so afraid of what the future will bring to me and to those people and institutions that I love. I try so hard to predict what will happen from my limited viewpoint. I am heartbroken at the loss of so many things, big and small.
The disciples were locked away for fear. Fear of the political and religious powers. Fear of what life would be like with Jesus dead. Fear of the unknown future.
We are sat behind our locked doors like the disciples, fear of a powerful, dangerous virus keeping us isolated. We sit in prayer and contemplation.
Unlike the disciples, however, we do know the joy of the resurrection. We know our hope in Jesus was well-placed. We know that even if the consequences of this virus are unknown, the consequences of our baptisms are known. We have been claimed, cleansed and commissioned. Our everlasting life in Jesus began then and continues forever.
That is the Easter promise I proclaim to you. As we continue to sit in this Good Friday, Holy Saturday feeling wondering what the future will be, know that God always goes before us. Jesus comes through our doors locked in fear and is present with us saying, “Peace be with you.”
Every time we say or think of the name of our faith community we proclaim the Good News: Emmanuel – God is with us!
Yours in Christ,
Here's a great new hymn expressing these conflicting, paradoxical feelings of Easter in times of pandemic. This Easter Celebration by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.