Three generations of our family eight years ago. Taken at the front of our church in Minneapolis.
The thought of not celebrating Easter in church is almost impossible for me to imagine, but this year will be a first for all of us. The church we used to attend would adorn the altar area with potted, spring flowers, ferns and a statue of the risen Savior. It made the perfect backdrop for family photographs such as the one above. My daughter is now a blond. My granddaughter is now a Junior in high school and I’m a retired drama teacher, living the dream.
We’ve changed during those eight years. We still possess the ability to smile. We still go to church together. We still love each other dearly, but even the life of my teenaged granddaughter is so different than what I experienced growing up.
This particular Easter, eggs will be painted and hunted for but not beyond the confines of our own backyards.. There will be chocolate bunnies and peeps. There will be jelly beans galore. There will be special dinners, but there will be no church – at least not as we knew it. We can still tune into the internet and observe from afar. We’ll be able to play inspirational music and FaceTime or Zoom each other, but it won’t be the same. Someone suggested that we all sing Amazing Grace in our limited space outside at the same time of 10 AM. Those voices would not only be a way to thank God for life everlasting, but to fill our hearts with even more joy.
The thought of an empty church on Easter is unthinkable, but it will happen this year. While feeling bad about that, I couldn’t help being reminded of the first Easter. That Sunday morning when Mary went to anoint the body of her Savior and was met with the unthinkable. The stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty. EMPTY! Jesus no longer was held captive to the grave. He’d risen indeed!
Our churches may be empty this Easter, but so was the tomb which held Jesus’ bruised and smitten body since Good Friday. The unbelievable had happened.
Dear, Lord, Jesus,
As we come to the end of the Lenten season, fill our hearts with excitement. You alone are the reason for this precious season of Easter. Your passion for us was immeasurable. Your sacrifice so great that it’s impossible for us to comprehend. Our places of worship have been closed, because of this pandemic, yet our hearts are full and ready to praise you for what you’ve done. Help us to make this an Easter to remember – one that mimics the first one. The church is empty, but so was your tomb. You overcame death and with that we have the assurance of eternal life. Amen!