Easter is worth a lot more than one day a year, in my book. The church calendar allots seven Sundays, not just one, leading up to Pentecost. Liturgical churches talk about the “Great 50 Days,” a season of 50 days from Easter Eve to Pentecost.
Raising children in faith is one of the biggest responsibilities for faith educators — clergy, lay leaders, family members and others. Holy Week holds its own particular challenges with stories of Jesus’ life, ministry and crucifixion and themes of sin, betrayal, political machinations, death and resurrection. Such topics are difficult for adults to understand, let alone children.
This Holy Week, Christians find themselves scattered like the first disciples, each to their own homes. This is as it should be given the threat this pandemic poses. And yet, amid the fear and anxiety of whether we or our loved ones will become sick, amid difficult conversations with our children and others about worst case scenarios, amid the worry of our children over something so present yet so imperceptible as this dread virus—have we left Jesus alone?
In times of crisis or disaster in the community, nation, or world—Selected worship resources from The New Manual of Worship
In order to be fully present and pastoral in the lives of our people, ministers and worship planners/leaders need to be ready to make changes in our plans when there is a disaster or tragedy in our midst.
Either Christ has dominion, or he does not. By what authority do any of us act? How do we pick our battles? Our choices, and how we elect to assert the reasons for them, say much about who we are and what we ultimately believe.
Who could have imagined that great nations like Italy, and possibly France and Spain, as well, would be on nationwide lockdown? From China to the United States to Europe and everywhere else on Earth, we are being reminded that, while we have great wealth and great wisdom, there are some moments when we are at the mercy of Nature and must yield to its awesome and sometimes terrifying power.
It’s impossible to be in a climate like this and not be affected by the anxiety swirling around. What’s a leader to do? You can’t manage other people’s anxiety for them, but you can work on your own.
Followers of Jesus should use this standstill in our nation to raise questions that must come prior to returning to business as usual; questions regarding the welfare of millions of people whose extreme existential vulnerabilities are now exposed in the areas of income inequality, lack of wage protection, access to food, housing, healthcare and technology access.
During the coronavirus crisis, churches must resist the urge to make panicked decisions, and instead prayerfully and faithfully lead others through new challenges.
This Easter many Christians, perhaps most, will gather as the earliest Christians did—in homes. Unlike those early Christians, they will do so as individual families connected, if at all, through online platforms and streaming services. Like those who preceded them in the faith, they will break bread and praise God as the church has done through the ages—amid war, peace, famine, plenty, pandemic, plague, freedom, oppression.