This Easter season is surreal. If you had tried to explain to me last year where we (my family, my community and our nation) would be due to the coronavirus pandemic, I would not have believed you. Yet, here we are: sheltering in place, earning from home, working from home, cut off physically from others but possibly technologically connected.
In our home, my husband, Jimmy, and I are working, and both of our children are distance learning. All four of us spend most of our days staring at our computers, connected to others through voice and video. We are blessed to be in a home with Wi-Fi internet connection during this time, well aware that many families have harder struggles. Still, in our cocooned home, it's easy to lose track of days, date and time of day. Without a change in scenery or a change in routine, it has become hard to distinguish one day from another.
Yesterday, I put a reminder on my calendar to make sure our son, a high school senior, decides which college he will attend and pay the deposit by May 1. It's entirely possible that I could simply forget what day it is and miss the deadline otherwise. Today we found out that his graduation ceremony has been postponed until August. Events move. Dates change. Nothing is permanent.
When days and dates lose their meaning, how do we celebrate Easter? The days leading up to Easter have great liturgical significance. Maundy Thursday marks the day of the Last Supper and the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus. Good Friday is the commemoration of Jesus' crucifixion. Holy Saturday is the day Jesus' body lay in the tomb before His resurrection on Easter Sunday. This Easter Sunday, instead of following our long-observed practice of gathering before sunrise with other parishioners, our family will celebrate at home. We are still working through how to do that. Yes, we will watch the online service, but it seems we need to do more. In this time of darkness, we search for light: light to see, and light to be seen.
This is truly a time of darkness, made darker by being cut off from friends and loved ones. It's a time of darkness due to the uncertainty of how long this period will last; who will become sick; who will lose their job, their home, their loved one, their health.
In uncertainty, we have one thing we can be sure of. "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness," we are told in Colossians 1:13. We are in such need of rescue at this time.
It's almost too much to bear. But we are told in Romans 8:18 to "consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." What catches my attention is the phrase "revealed in us." It's not revealed for us to see or marvel at. Instead, it is revealed in us: in our actions, in our thoughts, in our feelings.
Even when we can't feel it, God is working in us individually, in others and all around us, and if we pay close enough attention, we can allow God to work through us. That is what Jesus allowed God to do through his life, his death and his resurrection.
While the work of the world is often based on speed -- completing lists and projects, meeting deadlines -- God's work often requires time: time for introspection, connection, understanding and acceptance. While we might not have much certainty during this time, many of us have time. Using this time for introspection, connection, understanding and acceptance can lead to anxiety. I know it has for me. But instead of ignoring it and going on to another activity, I've been slowing down and dealing with it through breathing, and then breathing again.
For so many of us who are anxious, remember what Peter said: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you," a reminder that God cares for all of us, and our anxiety should be cast upon him. For years, our family has held hands while we said the Lord's Prayer during church service. Its familiarity provides comfort and focus, while the holding of hands brings connection.
Easter will come and go. Christ has been resurrected. The question remains: How will we live out our lives?