Easter is Special
Being the Church during a pandemic has been frustrating, challenging, and full of anxiety. I recall that last year, Easter for many of us was not the same. Last year, most of our churches had to scrap their Easter plans due to the pandemic. We were disappointed that the church year’s biggest day, which proclaimed God’s ultimate Good News, felt more like a hollow victory.
We all walked through the events of Holy Week with a different attitude and understanding. I wrote about my Easter experience and how I faced my own Holy Week experience (you can read about it here). This year, as many people have received the vaccination and learned how to adapt, we anticipate that Holy Week and Easter will differ from last year.
And perhaps there’s still a bit of concern that Easter this year will not be the same. I can’t guarantee that we will see crowds like we did pre-pandemic this Sunday, but don’t surprised if more people show up at your church than you expect.
Ok, so I acknowledge that for churches, as they have slowly begun to gather in-person following safety guidelines, that they have seen on average about a 1/3 of the attendance before the pandemic. I also know that many people have gotten out of the habit of attending church unless available on-demand where they watch wearing their PJs.
But I also know that Easter is special. And because it’s Easter, even during a pandemic, there will be people who will show up looking for something more in their lives. Existing members, old friends, and people you don’t know will want to experience your church. It might not be as large, and you might have to pivot by offering alternative experiences (as well as pray for pleasant weather), but it will still be Easter.
Easter always offers new hope and follows the pattern of loss, unsettled ground. As I discovered a year ago, Easter is to be more than a one-time event. Rather it is meant to be an ongoing personal encounter of walking with Jesus through Good Friday of crucifixion (season of tremendous loss), Holy Saturday of Preparation (unsettled ground, where things lie fallow, and nothing seems to be happening). Without Good Friday and Holy Saturday, there is no Easter.
The pandemic has stripped away some things and forced us to reevaluate what it means to be the Church. We’re still living through the losses cherished traditions and navigating the unsettled ground slippery footing to try to gain balance and a sense of normalcy. The Good News is that Easter appears amid the losses of Good Friday and the unsettled ground of Holy Saturday!
I’m praying for the 85 churches in the district as you each prepare to open your church experiences to what God will do to offer people new hope experiences of Easter. I’m grateful to each of you. Happy Easter!
On the Journey,
Technology and Digital Ministry