A VERY DIFFERENT EASTER
There is no question that this Lent and Easter weekend is the most different and challenging of our lives. Our churches are closed, we have been not been able to go to confession or receive communion and we have not been able to gather as families of faith.
This is in addition to the number of other real challenges and difficulties we face without school, job losses, financial difficulties and the health crisis COVID-19 has inflicted on so many. It is a different Easter—one we were not planning for. What can Easter mean for us today?
LOOKING AT THE LOSSES
It can be very easy for us to simply look at the losses we are having to endure. No school, no church, no sports and no freedom. This can be very debilitating and any type of change is hard. Our lives are completely changed and we have no control of it—we can only respond and adapt to our present circumstances to keep safe with physical distancing to save lives.
We can choose to be negative and indeed simply look at what we have lost and stay there. If we do this, we enter into a very difficult time and seek the things that right now we cannot have. Our faith reminds us to persevere and endure, in a sense it is a time for us to be in the desert, to be in the Garden of Gethsemane and carrying our crosses.
If we choose to simply pine over the things we cannot do and be, we will miss out on a lot that God has to offer us. Those things that we cannot do can help us pivot to the things that we can do and celebrate Easter in a very different but possibly an even more powerful way.
EASTER BLESSINGS TODAY
As we celebrate the biggest weekend in our faith year, we do so very differently. We are participating in the liturgies through the internet and praying at home with our loved ones. In one sense we can see our faith is at a distance, but in another way, our faith can come home. Sometimes we can compartmentalize things into strict categories and situations. We have our home life, church life and maybe even sport life. Often these areas do not cross over. In the midst of this crisis, we can really bring our faith life home.
This Easter may be a true blessing as it takes us out of the routines and forces us to think about faith, family and health in a very different and real way. What are the blessings of this Easter season for us? Here are a few to think about.
(1) SACRED HOME SPACE
One of the things we have encouraged over the last few weeks is to create some sacred faith space in our homes. In addition to connecting via the live-stream celebrations and using various online faith resources, we also need to make our homes into noticeable spaces for God. This is done with sacred images, crosses, bibles and candles. We do this by creating a prayer space so that we can be open to the graces of God while not being distracted by other things around us.
Creating a prayer table or area will hopefully bring grace and in a very real way God’s presence as a reminder of his love, especially when things get back to “normal” after the pandemic.
(2) FEWER DISTRACTIONS
One of the things that take us away from faith and from those things most important in our lives are distractions. These can be very good things but sometimes we can get overwhelmed, too busy and then make compromises of those things that we actually really value—and we pay a heavy price for that.
Although the Boston Bruins were going to win the Stanley Cup this year, and it is sad that the play-offs are not happening right now, we can turn and realize that we have more time to do the things we had always hoped for but never made the time. Many of our distractions are suspended for the moment, which now becomes an opportunity to focus and establish new norms and routines that can feed, strengthen and support us even more. We are in unfortunate and extremely difficult circumstances, and yet, it is a graced time also. It is a chance for us to re-establish new norms with less noise but more substance.
(3) GROWING RELATIONSHIPS
During this time of pandemic, there are a lot of stresses, difficulties and challenges. There are job losses, layoffs, financial fears and of course the challenge of those who are sick, isolated and vulnerable. We also realize the courage of all the front line workers in our hospitals, nursing homes, grocery stores and other essential services. During this time of crisis, we rediscover the importance of our relationship with others.
We have seen and experienced more connections with others being concerned with those in need and reconnecting with those we haven’t talked to in a long time. Of course this is happening via phone calls, video chats and emails but a growing awareness of those around us is happening. We realize that in the end, we need each other and to battle this deadly virus, we all need to do our part. Our relationships with God and one another become the most important components in our lives!!
WHAT DOES THIS EASTER MEAN FOR US?
This Easter is a chance to re-establish our lives rooted in God and one another. To change our lives from a race to the top to a life of faithful discipleship through service and care for those around us. May this Easter season be a time of great strength, light and joy when we realize that God is with us and within us!! Happy Easter!!!