These are uncertain and unusual times we find ourselves in as we close out the season of Lent and prepare ourselves for Holy Week and Easter. In a way it seems that Lent has been added to in a form we weren’t prepared for or expecting. While Holy Week will be upon us before we know it (the first full week of April) Easter can seem further away than ever as we are isolated at home and separated from one another, friends, and family.
Easter is a semi fixed day on the church calendar, one that moves based on the cycle of the seasons and the movement of the heavens, not the health or economy of our country or world. Yet every Sunday is a little Easter for us, as we remember the resurrection of Jesus each and every Sunday and call it the Lord’s Day. So while we may not be gathered in person to worship and fellowship on Easter Sunday this year, we can be guaranteed that whatever Sunday we rejoin each other in person for worship will be Easter for us.
Until that day, as we wait in uncertainty, anxiety, loneliness (or whatever you are experiencing) we have the solidarity of our Lord and his disciples with us. On the night before he was executed by the state Jesus ate with his disciples and then went to a garden to pray. In that garden Jesus agonized before God with the weight of what was before him. He experienced the fear, anxiety, sorrow, and isolation that many of us and many around us are experiencing. In that moment he cried out to God in prayer, entrusting himself to his Father in heaven. Surely God, in Christ, has known all that it is to be human and thus stands in solidarity with us in all that these times hold.
Similarly Jesus’ disciples on the days following his crucifixion hid themselves away at home, surely filled with sadness, fear, and uncertainty, as the man they believed to be the Messiah was now dead. They couldn’t have known whether the authorities would come for them next and even if they were safe many of them had left livelihood and family behind in order to follow this rabbi. What would they do now? Would they be accepted back by their families and villages? I imagine that the uncertainty would have been scary and potentially overwhelming for them. On that Holy Saturday before Jesus rose we find the disciples in solidarity with us living in uncertainty as much of what they have known changed overnight.
In the midst of all that is happening and all that we are feeling and experiencing know that Jesus and his disciples stand in solidarity with us. Know that there are people the world over who are feeling and experiencing much of what we are. And be assured of my prayers for and with you. And may we all know the hope of Easter, that Christ is already risen from the dead, and that whatever Sunday we are able to worship together in body and spirit we will have Easter!
The grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all,