Every spring, houses of worship are flooded with people celebrating the good news of Jesus Christ — His life, death, and resurrection, and the transformation that takes place because of his story.
This year, though, we are faced with an unprecedented situation, and a question arises — What are we to make of this season of celebration in light of COVID-19, which has made it incredibly difficult to gather and celebrate as we’ve done in years past?
Some questions that seem to be on the minds of many are: How can we be a community if we aren’t allowed to gather together? How can we be sources of hope and healing, when trying to help those in need might actually put them in danger? And perhaps the hardest question of all to ask — Where is God in this situation?
Trying to find the balance between caring for others and ourselves by following the advice of medical professionals and government mandates, and being a “city on a hill” whose light shines for all to see has left us tired, anxious, and in desperate need of God’s resurrecting power.
In a time when hope, unity, and prayer are most important, many may find these things hard to come by — especially when we can’t seem to go a day without an update informing us just how bad our present crisis is. BUT, what if the questions we ask in the current crisis are actually part of what it means to have faith? What if our doubts could lead us to a clearer picture of God’s movement in our lives?
During this time, we are caught between the confusion of a pandemic and a deep longing for the celebration of resurrection and Easter. Where might we find God in this Easter season? Where might we find resurrection, life, and hope in the midst of fears, doubts, and questions? If we take the time to consider these questions seriously, we will see that the Lord is in this place — even when we don’t realize it!
Ways to serve during COVID-19
While our surroundings feel chaotic, we can still work hard to follow the example Jesus made of serving those in need. During COVID-19, there are many different kinds of needs that should be met.
People age 65 and older, those with underlying chronic health issues such as lung disease or asthma, and pregnant women, are just a few people groups who are the most vulnerable to the effects of the virus. But there are many groups of people who are also at risk in other ways — small business owners and their employees, students of all ages, parents who have to balance providing for their families financially while caring for their kids who are out of school, and the many people who have lost their jobs due to closures.
There is no community where someone has not been affected. This Easter season, we want to encourage you and your community to be the hands and feet of Jesus in very humble and practical ways:
We can start by following the advice of medical professionals, maintaining healthy social distances and practicing good hand-washing.
We can humbly support groups that have safe, informed, and practical ways of helping the most vulnerable groups without unnecessarily putting them at risk such as your local shelters and feeding programs.
We can help bring groceries and cleaning supplies to people unable to go into public areas due to health concerns.
We can practice good mental health by hosting a virtual open mic night, talent show, or dinner party with your loved ones using one of the many digital video messaging platforms available.
These are just a few ideas on how we can continue to serve and connect in a time when meeting in person is simply not possible. We hope that they spark ideas for you and your family and that you would be encouraged to come up with your own unique ways of connecting!
No matter what the next day brings, we should all strive to be people of love recognizing the pain and suffering of others and acting in ways of compassion. May we not become closed off to the plight of the world, but follow in Christ’s example by opening our hearts and bearing it with joy this Easter season.
Wishing you and yours a safe, joy-filled holiday.