This meme sums up the season of Lent for me this year. Usually for Lent, we voluntarily give up, or fast from, things we take for granted. The spiritual benefit of a fast reminds us how much we rely on God and how little we actually need the things we often feel we can’t do without. But this Lent is different. We have had to give up many things this year, and they weren’t voluntary. We have lost the ability to gather and to see each other face to face. We have had to give up going to the museum and the movies, and even to visit friends and family. Many of us have lost the ability to go to work, and some of us have lost our health.
In the church calendar, Lent ends this week as we turn to Holy Week and then to the celebration of Easter. However, the enforced ‘Lent’ of physical distancing looks like it will continue for some time. I would suggest that this need not keep us from celebrating Easter as best we can and with great vigour.
The Beating Heart of the Gospel
Christians have always turned to the hope of Easter in times of great darkness, be it because of war or pestilence or tragedy. We are reminded that Easter at its heart is not simply a spring holiday and a chance for a long weekend. Rather, it is the beating heartbeat of the Gospel. When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning, it wasn’t just about a man being able to resuscitate; it was the astounding transformation of a shameful death into the victory of God’s love through Jesus. For us it is the concrete promise that trial and tragedy will never have the final word. God’s love is stronger than all that the world can throw at us. Because of Easter, we live as people of hope.
This week we are going to walk with Jesus as he walks the path of the cross for the healing of the world. I invite you to walk with us both in our on-line worship and in your homes. We will provide ideas and ways you can join in. It may seem like this Lent will continue for a long time, but keep the faith. God is with you. Easter can never be cancelled.