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Easter in a Season of Pandemic

Easter in a Season of Pandemic

by Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler on April 09, 2020

We are in the midst of the Holy Week journey. In more normal times that would mean most of my week would be spent at the church building. I would be deep in preparation for the worship services that mark the journey from Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to Easter. We had been planning to launch a new Easter Sunrise Service this year. The choir would have concluded Lent and opened the door to Holy Week with a Requiem. A myriad of bulletins, flowers, candles, altar cloth colors and plans for gathering on Easter Sunday would normally occupy our time. If these were normal times.

            I am learning from you – and experiencing it myself – that we are groping our way through this week with a new attention to the way it unfolds and how we respond. The world has changed dramatically in a month. Sickness and death from the Corona Virus tug at our elbow. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others yearn for loved ones who are far away or even close, but in isolation. Some of our natural rhetoric is a yearning to “get back to normal” or for the world’s economy to be “open again.”

            I believe that it will not be the same as it was. Too often in this pandemic we have been entreated to think of this as a war. Perhaps it is. But I am more drawn to view this for what is required, and that is healing and recovery. The calling, skills and dedication has centered around the care and cure of bodies along with the care and cure of souls. Triage, intensive care, prayer, recuperation, recovery, rehabilitation are skills more applicable to both those who have been afflicted by this virus and the world’s population whose life has been changed by it.

            I think of the many I have known who have come through a difficult surgery or affliction and had to move through rehab. They learn how to live and move differently. It is not just a matter of re-training the body but re-focusing the expectations of life and the spiritual framework and disciplines is required.

            As I look to Easter, that is the strong invitation of resurrection. It is the invitation to emerge from the difficult journey of the suffering and passion of Holy Week and the season of pandemic to a new life beyond this extraordinary difficulty.

            I am not sure what they will look like or feel like, but I believe we will know them when they begin to manifest themselves. Healing. Wholeness. Connectedness in love, joy and peace. Sharing the table that all might be fed. Lifting up the lowly who once were underpaid, underinsured and underappreciated – the very ones who put their lives on the line every day so that all of us might live in hope. I yearn for the day when we attest to this kind of resurrection in the human family and for the life of the earth itself.

Tags: easter, resurrection, healing, pandemic

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