Sunday we celebrated Easter in a way we have probably never celebrated Easter before and I hope and pray we never have to celebrate Easter in that way again. It was definitely different. Typically we are used to going to church on Sunday where houses of worship are pretty full if not packed with people singing praises and offering their prayers. This past Easter Pastors across the world preached to empty sanctuaries or from the privacy of their living rooms. In the Past we would gather with family…in some cases more family than we can count. In other cases it is with our created families and our homes would be filled with the wonderful smells of good food, laugher, and the stuff memories are made. This year, we celebrated alone, with only those who live in the same household as we continue to shelter in place doing our part as we try to stop the spread of this Covid-19 virus.
But here is the thing: Easter still happened. We just found different ways to celebrate. Music filled the air via our connections through the internet. We were able to hear many different musicians from around the world offer their talent for us to enjoy. We were able to hear many different sermons. It also meant that we got to hear different perspectives on the Easter story, the wonderful way that in rising from the dead Christ broke our bondage to sin and death. It was an Easter unlike any other and yet some of us may feel as if we are still in the tomb…and to a certain extent we still are.
I think we might get a better understanding from Easter and the singular saving event of Jesus’ resurrection in the New Testament if we were to take a look at the singular saving event of the Exodus in the Old Testament. There the Israelite nation was saved from their bondage to slavery in Egypt just as we have been saved from our bondage to sin and death through Jesus. For the Israelites, the first thing God did was to take them to Mt. Sinai to give them the Ten Commandments…but then instead of finding themselves going in a straight line to the Promised Land…they found a very circuitous route that lasted forty years through the desert. They were free….But they weren’t in paradise just yet… they were not ready to receive the Promised Land and all it offered. Freedom from slavery or in our case sin and death doesn’t mean we still won’t have suffering. Life is not easy and in this age of Covid-19 that is quite the understatement!
But like the Israelites who wandered for forty years with God going with them every grumbling step of the way…they were a complaining lot…God will go with us every step of the way no matter how difficult the journey gets. We are not promised a “Rose Garden” style of life. We will endure hardships. We will have suffering. We will be buffeted by many events we would like to erase from our life stories.
So the questions becomes: “How is it with your soul?” I remember a woman years ago, when she received the diagnoses that her cancer had returned and there was nothing they could do, made the decision to live what life she had left with joy and when the time came when she knew the end was near, she was going to show her family how do die well. She did just that as her daughters made the comment to me after she had died that their mom left them with a smile. We all have choices in life. We can live well through the storms and trials or we can grumble and complain. We can face all that comes our way with courage or we can crumple. We can blame God for all that is wrong in life…BTW…God does not cause our pain and suffering but God will be with us through all the pain and suffering we go through in life…or we can recognize we live in a world that is filled with pollution that harms our health, we live in a world that is filled with violence that threatens our lives, we live in a world that is prone to natural disasters…and we also live in a world that is filled with beauty, good people and mild weather. And in the midst of all we live in, where ever we live, life happens both the good and the bad.
We are now in the season of Eastertide…it is spring, Jesus Christ, is risen, and it is the time for renewal. So…the question remains: How is it with your soul?