Celebrating Easter at home irritates me.
This virus and the Stay-At-Home order have muzzled our beloved Easter Service.
It’s the most celebrated holiday of the Christian year and we can’t fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How awful. Can they really take away Easter?
Some pastors are discarding the government’s order, claiming it’s anti-Christian because it infringes on our first amendment rights. One pastor is bold enough to go rogue and invite the nation to a “Woodstock-style” Easter service:
“I’m gonna announce it. … We’re gonna hold an outdoor Easter blowout service. Not online. A national gathering. You come from all over, like Woodstock. And we’re gonna gather and lift up Jesus Christ.”
“We’re gonna lift up Jesus?”
Wait…what does this remind me of?
“Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”(Genesis 11:4)
And with that, my whole “Easter Tradition Sentiment” falls flat.
I understand that the pastor meant it in a worshipful sense, but I can’t help but see the parallel with the Tower of Babel.
In case we’re feeling the crusader spirit, it’s imperative to remember that we’re not the ones who “lift up” Jesus. He’s already been lifted up (John 12:32-33). When we lift him up in worship (Rom. 12:1), it’s because he’s been “raised up” by the Father (Acts 5:30).
In other words, when I seek the form more than the essence of this holiday (or worship in general), I’m no different than those who built the Tower of Babel.
When we make Christianity about “our thing,” we disregard what’s been done in Christ, and what he continues to do through his Spirit. Both of which transcend government orders, constitutional or not, and both also happen to be completely congruent with this present order. So all this hoopla about Christianity being muzzled–or masked–is moot.
Although I appreciate the formative nature of liturgy and sacraments, I must understand that to elevate them above their focus is like taking my wife out for dinner and savoring the dinner more than her.
Worship, fellowship, liturgy and sacrament are just the dishes we can live without for a few weeks.
If we can just get out of the way and be still for once (Psa. 46:10), then perhaps this time away from our beloved Easter traditions will become, as my own pastor suggested, a “fast” of sorts. Indeed, as a bonus, this time away from many things we find “essential” (pun intended) should give us time to reconsider their place in our priorities.
We aren’t Christians because we gather for Church. We’re Christians because God has made us so.
So wherever we are–whether we live in a government that welcomes our faith or not–Christ has promised to be with us (Matt. 28:20). And if we’re personally infected by this virus, or if the Stay-At-Home order has devastated our funerals and spoiled our weddings, Christ continues to be Immanuel, God With Us.
Easter is not just a tradition. It’s a reality celebrated all year long. They truly can’t take away Easter. Christ will be here when our world returns to normalcy, and He will continue to be here no matter what is yet to come.
We, like the disciples beginning Easter Day in fear, will be just as surprised when God shows himself to be God after COVID “passes us over” (pun intended, again; Exod. 12).