PANDEMIC PASSION WEEK
I sit in my house during week four of this “season of sequestering”, this “Lent of Solitude”, and this week: “Pandemic Passion Week”. It’s not as I imagined so many months ago when I pictured all of us together in the decked-out and “lily-filled” sanctuary. Then all my extended family at my house (which was the original plan…just postponed) eating home-made wonders which surround turkey, ham, and salmon…screaming little girls searching for eggs and all the “grandparents” finally collapsing in our comfy chairs at the end of the day, sleeping through some movie.
It was a nice dream, but not to be this year…and yet…it’s STILL Easter.
This pandemic season runs the spectrum from “death” (ours or our loved ones’…alone), fear of the unknown, to mere lengthy inconvenience (which is, thankfully, what most of us are experiencing). But no matter the circumstance the Church message still stands: THIS day, of all days, is the most sacred, most special, most holy of all the holidays the Church observes.
Without Easter there IS no Church…there are only clubs filled with good people, whose good deeds have no power, and will die when they die. Why? Because if Jesus is NOT the Son of God and NOT the One who died and then came back to life, there is NO REASON to worship, to educate, to serve.
Doing good and treating people well might be “the right thing to do”…but that is not a good enough reason for most of us to do it. “Loving” is challenging and difficult work…especially when we are SPECIFICALLY commanded to love those who do not and WILL not love us (because the world is created to operate better that way). If there were no “supernatural”, or perhaps a better word would be “trans-natural” element to Church, then we would be (and sometimes are) just another club.
If the only possibilities for the restoration of this nation and world were in the hands of good people, who could still do much, the world would still die…and we would die with it.
HOWEVER, that’s not what we believe and know. We know, through faith alone in the knowledge that comes from the Spirit of God, that we ARE souls housed in a temporary body. Our soul will one day break free and be housed forever in a permanent body. We also know, through faith alone in the knowledge that comes from the Spirit, that this world will be stripped, reconstructed, rebuilt, and redeemed to a permanent place. We know, in faith, that if we SAY Jesus is God’s Son…resurrected from an unfair execution at the hands of the Church and the State (please stop blaming the Jews and the Romans, it was you and me)…then we had better live according to what we SAY is true…or get out of the way of those successfully living according to what they believe.
The message of Easter is, as Jesus’ body died, so will ours…but when HE died, He killed the effect of decomposition caused by mistakes, bad choices and separation from God. And when He climbed off that stone bed and unwrapped his now-breathing body…He stepped back into the garden…and so will we. If we don’t believe that…then there is no reason to celebrate this Sunday.
Through “better or worse, sickness or health”, Easter doesn’t represent a “Good man”, “prophet”, “philosopher/teacher”…Easter is a God who died so that I wouldn’t have to…and then got up and kept living…and asked me to follow…I will.