So admitted our president, Donald Trump, last night at the press conference about the extended social distancing guidelines.
I do not believe it is a coincidence that those next two weeks includes Easter, the biggest feast ever of Christian faith.
How are we to celebrate, to be joyful, when death surrounds us on every side? In the next two weeks, we will probably know someone who is dying or has died of the coronavirus. And then we’re supposed to turn around and smile? We’re supposed to dance about because “Easter”? Hmm. No thanks. I just don’t feel “Eastery” this year.
I wrote this morning in my message to my congregation about the importance of celebrating anyway, of an Easter when I definitely didn’t feel Eastery. I was in the middle of my deepest depression yet, and though I continued to walk a Holy Saturday (lying in the tomb) kind of existence for a number of months, I celebrated anyway. Because God is bigger than my depression and God’s power is bigger than coronavirus, and our Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection does not depend upon us.
We aren’t to disregard the tragedies we already face, or what may befall us in the next two weeks, or pretend that everything is okay, but we are to remember that Jesus is Lord. God is almighty, no matter what.
There’s a line in the service that Episcopalians use for the Burial of the Dead, that goes: “Even at the grave, our song is Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.”
These two weeks (let’s be honest, Mr. Trump, more than just the next two weeks are gonna suck. It’s gonna be a long, long time that it’s gonna suck) may be dastardly, but in the middle of that two weeks, in the midnight of the soul, in the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil. Why? Because Thou Art With Me.
It’s actually wonderful and awesome and powerful that Easter falls right as the coronavirus reaches its crescendo here in the USA: because we know that coronavirus does not have the final word. God does. No matter what, come coronavirus or high water, Jesus saves, and Jesus rises.
God does not promise that things won’t be bad. God does not promise that we will not get sick, or that our loved ones will not die. God does promise to bring to life again, God does promise eternal life, God does promise — and shows us he means it on the cross! — that he will not leave us or forsake us to the dark, or to evil, or to sin.
Jesus stays, Jesus stays.