For most of us, we start this season of Easter by saying: “The Lord is risen!” to which we reply: “The Lord is risen, indeed, Alleluia!” this is a time of deep joy, and the fundamental reason for Christianity to exist. If there were no Easter, there would be no Christian faith. Yes, Easter is the number one mystery and celebration in the Christian world; indeed, even more important than Christmas! Easter is the time when we celebrate what Christians call the mystery of our faith, the death and resurrection of Christ in which the powers of sin and death are destroyed forever. Or are they?
Right now, does it look like we have much cause for joy and celebration? We are living in unprecedented times. This looks like stories from the history books when they talk about the plagues in the middle ages or the Spanish flu in the early 1900s.
The truth is that we are still learning as we go about this coronavirus, it would seem we are living in a doomsday scenario of darkness and despair rather than a time for joy and celebration of resurrection and life.
What can we, as clergy and ministers, do about this? What does our faith say in light of such a crisis? Against all the odds, we must do our best not to be overwhelmed by it. Our faith tells us that there is a light ahead. The stone will be rolled away. How?
Just as we see all the bad news and scary numbers, we also see the beautiful and godly resilience of the human spirit, and we see people stepping up to the plate: frontline medical and support staff, grocery and drug store clerks, food delivery workers, and everyone that works in essential services.
Even some politicians are going beyond the mundane. In Ontario, the Easter Bunny is on the list of essential services, and in Quebec, the Tooth Fairy made the same list. We may laugh and ask why this was done, but along with all the other [adult] essential services, we must not lose sight of the goodness, tenderness and innocence that keep us human.
The medical staff, the essential services workers, our efforts to “flatten the curve” of the infection, and our instinctual desire to help out however way we can – that’s how the stone is rolled away, and that’s how resurrection happens. That’s how we know that there’s light ahead. The invitation is that Easter remains a continuous event in our lives, that we are constantly rising again to new life and to bring that life to the world because that’s what we’re called to do, recognizing we are all in this together, no matter how difficult and, literally, crazy it may seem.
There is a story circulating in social media that says, “I remember the story of a Rabbi during a natural disaster. He was asked how he could explain such a tragic act of God. The Rabbi answered that the disaster was an act of nature. The act of God occurred when people stepped up to help each other.” Easter calls us to be The Act of God. The Lord IS rising, indeed. Alleluia!