Yesterday was the day the Christian community sets aside to remember the resurrection of Jesus specifically. We traditionally call this day Easter, and it is usually the biggest day in the religious calendar. This year was the most unique one I have experienced in my life and especially my 27 years of ministry. The Church I lead was one of the thousands of Churches who did not meet because of the Corona Virus/COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few reflections I would like to share from this once in a lifetime experience.
- People are still interested in religion. One of my fears going into this time of quarantine is that people would forget about the Church and push back from faith. I was encouraged this week to see so many stops to pick up communion at our Church for worship. Then there were all the posts on social media about Jesus, faith, and the Church from the people I lead along with their friends. The appeal of faith has not been reduced; in fact, it might be increasing, and that is encouraging.
- I am thankful for technology. I am not sure what I would have done if this crisis had happened 25 years ago. In 2020, I can do a high definition recording of my sermon, worship, and prayers. Then we are able to stream them on the web and allow everyone a chance to worship at home. I am thankful for the technology and all the people who are using it for God’s glory
- It didn’t quite feel like Easter. It was nice to worship at the same time with people of like faith, but it was not the same as being in the building together. I missed the fellowship we experience with the other members of our faith community. Without conversations, handshakes, hugs, and bright smiles, Easter missed some of its joy.
- The resurrection is still true. The central truth of our faith is not built on our time together. Our belief is grounded on the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. This pandemic will not negate the work of Jesus. The hope found on Easter morning still exists today, maybe especially today.
- God is still at work. I cling to this truth as a pastor and Church leader. When we are together, I get the joy of hearing people share their stories of spiritual growth. I can witness their changes and steps forward on their journey of faith. At home, I still believe God is at work in the lives of the people who are seeking to grow. My faith as a pastor is placed in God to do his mighty work despite the distance, technology issues, and my failures as a pastor.
These are some of the things I encountered this weekend as I tried to celebrate Easter in a new way. I pray the momentum and feelings of today will carry us until we can meet back together again. I am looking forward to the Church getting back together soon. Until then, keep the faith.