March 2020—early in the shutdown, much was unknown and uncertain. Here in Georgia at the time, many people thought the shutdown would last only two weeks. Then three. Three weeks turned into four. Summer came . . . and went. Then Fall. We’ve now arrived at another marker, one year later.
As Easter neared last year, I remember fretting about the unthinkable possibility that the church building would still be closed when Easter Sunday rolled around. Gloom loomed at the realization that in-person services would have to be cancelled.
Hope battled hard. But that’s what hope does best.
I’m not saying that the thoughts running through my head held any theological validity. But thoughts that something dark and sinister was at work against the global church persisted. Especially if circumstances robbed our Savior of rightful worship.
But a determination also persisted. Come what may, I resolved to rise with the sun and celebrate the Risen Lord.
I rose with the dawn and stepped out on my back patio. The sky utterly praised the glory of its Creator. And I wept exultant worship. Faith remembered that Christ was still risen. Earth's King reigned. No matter the circumstance.
Later, I joined the online service. And, just like the experience I mentioned yesterday about remembering sounds, I closed my eyes in song and remembered the sound of my church family in worship. In my mind’s eye, I saw their faces around the sanctuary. It brought comfort . . . courage. And only added to my worship—realizing the global people of God were united in Spirit in celebrating our King.
A year later, perseverance is still doing its work. And recalling lessons learned along the way help to that end.
We know more about the virus. But, as for uncertainty? Well, hasn’t uncertainty about the future always been a reality? But, hopefully, the reeling has stopped.
One benefit of remembering last Easter is the way it can inform our perspective toward this Easter. Because we can now hold on to what we learned.
What did you learn from living through a pandemic state last year that makes you stronger for it again this year?
I recall learning that God is God; Christ is risen; Easter is still Easter—and nothing can change that.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever
This truth informs faith. It is to be celebrated. Lived. Because it propels us to live above the pandemic. Beyond it.
Our life in the Christ of Easter anchors us to live steadily beyond our changing circumstances.
We cannot hope in the things of this ever-changing life. But beyond it.
Though perplexed, hard-pressed, and struck down (2 Cor 4:8), the Apostle Paul, a hero of our faith, rejoiced in hope. But remember what he said? We do not lose heart (2 Cor 4:16). He went on to say, For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:17-18).
There is more to life than meets the eye. Fix faith there.
Easter, though coming in trying times, is untainted by it. It is inoculated from calamity. It’s still Easter. Because Jesus is still Jesus. His victory over death is just as real. And He is just as alive in this pandemic as otherwise. And our Hosannas rise above it, to a risen and reigning King.
Sovereign God, when this changing life assaults faith, help me to remember that You are unchanging, constant, and ever-present. When times are hard, and celebration is a chore, remind my heart that it’s all for You.