An Easter unlike any other

Unless you live under a rock, you know that this year Holy Week is entirely different than any other Holy Week we have seen in our lifetimes. Typically, this is a week we look forward to celebrating our Lord and Savior. We gather on Maundy Thursday and celebrate the Lord’s last supper, as he gathered around the table to with his disciples to share in his final Passover meal, instituting what we have come to know as “the Lords Summer” or “communion.” We gather on Good Friday to worship as we remember the sacrifice the Lord made for us on Golgotha. The day He shed his blood for us so our sins would be washed away, forgiven by the blood of the Lamb. Then on Sunday, we gather in the greatest of the church as we worship our risen Lord. We proclaim hallelujah our savior has risen, he has conquered death, and because of this, we know that death no longer has power over us if we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is the most significant week in the church calendar.

This year we get to do none of that. If you have young children at home, you may be able to sit down to a family meal together, but there will be no congregating in worship. There will be no sitting in church pews; there will be no passing the peace. This year Easter will be different. Now I know churches are trying to get creative with their worship. Some congregations are offering drive-in worship, where you go and sit in the parking lot, and they still have service. Some churches are maintaining an online presence and streaming church. Again, others are postponing their celebrations until the pandemic ends. Most people will stay their homes, as they wait out the storm of this pandemic. This is an Easter, unlike any other. Or is it?

Two thousand years ago, Easter was much different than it is today. We read in John 20:19 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’” This was the first time the disciples saw Jesus after the resurrection. They knew the Lord had risen, Mary Magdalene had already seen Him and had reported back to the disciples what she had seen. But they were not celebrating; they were not lifting their voices up in worship, they were hiding. They were locked away in a room, hiding because they feared the authorities.

Even though they were not gathered in worship, even though they were not singing hymns and proclaiming the gospel, something happened. The Lord appeared among them. Jesus came and stood with them; he showed them his hands and his side. He encouraged them with a word of peace. They were in the presences of the risen Lord.

This first Easter is not that much different than our celebration this year. We will not meet together because of fear. Now it may be fear of a virus and not fear of the authorities but fear nonetheless. We will be locked away in our homes, but that doesn’t mean we cannot still enter into the presence of our risen Lord. The only thing we need to do is make room for Him to enter into our homes, where we are locked away.

It is my prayer this Easter that you all meet the risen Lord in a way that is unlike anything you have ever met him before. That you meet the risen Lord as the first disciples did. May the Lord bless and keep you.

Rev. Rich Wilkinson Jr. is of the Free Methodist Church of Gloversville.

By Kerry Minor

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