For years, I have been drawn to two particular “days” of our Holy Week calendar:
- Maundy Thursday
- Holy Saturday
Not surprisingly, this year, both days take on deeper, extremely different meanings for me than in other years. And, I was considering that when our church staff meeting discussed Easter this year, and my lead pastor* asked if I would prepare a YouTube meal blessing for Maundy Thursday. (I’m still figuring that out; stay tuned?)
There are lots of conversations about how the Christian tradition will celebrate Holy Week and Easter this week — in the days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are lots of conversations about how the Jewish tradition will celebrate Passover this week — in the days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we enter into week four (you BET I’m counting) of our safer-at-home, safe distancing “new-normals,” the honest truth is that now more than ever … I am grounded, planted, rooted in Holy Saturday.
I’m definitely not to Easter Sunday. Not yet.
In my heart, I always am. I’m a follower of the risen Christ. I am a disciple of the Jesus who committed her life to the hope I find in the resurrected Jesus. That is a part of me forever and ever — and with that in mind — when I’m able to regain a much larger perspective than what I currently hold — I will be celebrating with you all in great fashion.
But here’s my truth this day: while I celebrate Easter every.single.day.of.my.life, I’m not yet to Easter Sunday.
And, I may not be for awhile.
I’m not on the bandwagon of Easter MUST be celebrated on this Sunday, April 12 with fanfare and gusto — just like always!
Friends? Um? It’s not just like ALWAYS.
This is as different a life right now as anyone of us have gone through. What I need now is not a huge celebration instructing me that EVERYTHING IS JUST LIKE NORMAL. Because it’s not. I DON’T NEED fanfare and egg hunts screaming at me everything is “JUST LIKE ALWAYS.”
Because, it’s not. It’s just not. My kids remain longer and longer in their pajamas on a daily basis. They’ve eaten more sugar cereal and seen more Pokémon in the past three weeks than in their entire lives — combined. We need to write down the day and date every day to keep track! of just those simple things. We are now ALL doing KidsBop aerobic activities to just MOVE. Who knew all of those Step-Aerobic classes would come back to HELP ME at any point? (And allow me to simply say … no step aerobic class ever looked this good, this in sync, this colorful and perfect … let alone yours truly in said class.)
But, even though I’m not to the Easter Sunday that so many of us have come to expect, I am with you. I am with you, and everyone else who is waiting in this wild space of Holy Saturday.
In the words of Rev. Allison Lanza (Associate Pastor at Ridglea Christian Church, Fort Worth), “The very first Easter was not in a crowded worship space with singing and praising. On the very first Easter, the disciples were locked in their house…Alone in their homes, they dared to believe that hope was possible, that the long night was over and morning had broken.”
Holy Saturday is a time of waiting and unknown and waiting some more. In our homes, at a distance. A little or a lot afraid but knowing all the while that Easter Sunday will arrive while we wait as the Easter people we are. And when that time comes, when it is time for us to come together, we will celebrate in old and new ways with different meaning and purpose and poignancy to our gatherings …. and yet still and always as followers of the risen Christ.
Blessings to you all.
PS. Now? Go — try some KidsBop just for fun!
* My lead pastor is the Rev. Mark Sturgess (check out his blog)!