Updated: Apr 7, 2020
The trappings of Easter feel much different this year, don't they?
Even though Spring has gotten all gussied up with her pretty frock of pastel colors, I'll miss seeing little girls twirling in the church parking lot just to see their new dresses whoosh about them in a gauzy blur.
Even though we'll be missing our special church services and typical family gatherings, the message is the same.
"He is risen"
He IS "the resurrection and the life." John 11:25
During this pandemic we feel the oppressive weight of collective loss, which keeps piling up in big and small ways.
We face on-going circumstances that stir up restlessness and uncertainties we've never faced before.
The news we've been watching for months keeps pressing in, getting more and more personal each day.
Some days it all seems manageable while other days slip by in a surreal fog of helplessness against an elusive foe.
As we attempt to navigate the ups and downs of all this turmoil, it's natural to look back at previous Easter seasons and acknowledge the striking differences to this one.
It's okay to be sad about what we're missing.
It's okay to be sad about who we're missing.
Yet it's also okay to try something new, to simplify the past traditions and refine our focus.
"He has RISEN!"
This was my first Easter page I did in my Bible Quilt Journal a few years ago. As I gathered up verses for this bright "Risen" page, I re-read the events leading up to the resurrection.
Those were some dark days.
Jesus tried to warn His disciples about the suffering He would endure. Yet it was so hard for them to grasp the reality of what was to come.
The heavy weight of this darkness had to come first, so that Jesus could shine the Light of God's love.
Sometimes it's still hard for us to wrap our minds around this gift - this incredible sacrifice that was for US. It gets more personal and personal each day as we grow in Him.
Yes, this year feels different.
Some families are already deep in mourning and others hover in limbo, awaiting the dreaded news that the coronavirus has struck a loved one. We're all impacted by the disruptions to our typical routines and the stress of the unknown ripple effects yet to come. Whatever cycle of this Covid-19 crisis we're in, the encouraging message from Hebrews is the same for all of us:
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..."
"who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross...
endured such opposition from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Every time I turn to this page to add another scripture, I'm struck by this verse in Hebrews. In the midst of suffering and the heaviness of what was to come, Jesus was focused on "the Joy set before Him" - our salvation - and "became obedient to death" (Phil 2:8) for us.
In these days before Easter, let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus...
Let us see HIM in the days ahead, finding strength and comfort in HIM.
Sending prayers and hugs for a beautiful Holy Week to each of you & your families!