I arrived in Saanichton on April 4, 2020. The Pandemic was just beginning to hit hard. For the first time in my adult life, I did not attend an Easter service. There weren’t any Easter services to attend!
Now a year has come and gone and once again Easter Day looked very different. Thankfully, this year, there were many on-line worship services including our on-line service. And just when it looked like we might be allowed to have limited numbers attending worship services and perhaps be able to gather for an Easter Sunrise Service, the proverbial rug was pulled out from under us as the number of persons contracting the disease was climbing to record levels and the contagious, and potentially more dangerous, variant strains were also increasing in numbers. So, yet again, gathering live and in-person on Easter Day did not happen. Two years in a row!!
So, I keep reminding myself – this is the Easter Season. And this season reminds us that new hope, new life, new blessings do arise out of even the most difficult circumstances. That was the case, to be sure, even last Easter (2020) as we took steps to lovingly protect one another, by learning to wash our hands like never before, to mask and to physically distance. I’m sure glad we changed the term from social distancing to physical distancing. Because we learned new ways to keep in touch socially and spiritually: through a system of ‘care calling’ ensuring regular phone calls to congregants, by ZOOM meetings, and advancements in the quality of our on-line services. We continued to be CHURCH, engaged in mission and ministry: caring for one another, having opportunities for worship, prayer, study, outreach, and advocacy.
It is the Easter Season and the season of Spring. New life abounds all around us. And this Easter Season will be different. This Easter Season will see the rapid increase of people getting vaccinations. I sense that the pandemic is nearing its end. We are emerging out of what seems like an overly long Lenten season! We just have to hang in there for a few more months as everyone gets their turn to receive a vaccination shot.
And the truth is Easter doesn’t happen on just one day, not in just one season. Easter happens every day, every minute. Even as the pandemic has caused turmoil, perplexity, frustration and much grief and sadness, I have heard you tell me wonderful, heart-warming stories of the supportive care of family and friends; neighbours and acquaintances – and of your church. I certainly have experienced your supportive care, in this strange year, and am so very grateful for that.
I remember my mother telling me that some of the worst days of her life occurred during the Great Depression, but she also said that it was a time, like no other, when people cared for one another, and neighbours looked out for one another and close, lasting, friendships were forged. She taught me that Easter happens even in the difficult times. Just like a seed that though we can’t see it growing beneath the surface of the ground, new life is there all the same, and one day that new life breaks forth through the soil and blooms into something glorious. So, too, is new life happening in the soil of our lives, hidden and unseen, but ready to burst into full bloom. That’s how I see the past year and the year to come. God is doing a ‘new thing’; it is hidden and unseen, but it is happening nonetheless and resurrection will, indeed, happen. We will get through and beyond this pandemic, to newness of life, and we will gather again in community, in person, without masks, and not physically distanced!! Hallelujah!
Easter is the promise of new life. Easter proclaims the activity of God that ensures the ultimate victory of hope over despair; good over evil; love over hate; life over death. May we, not just during the pandemic, but in all times, care for others and be open to receiving the care of others. Let us continue to be Easter people; people of hope, goodwill, love and peace.