This weekend, we remembered the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ…and for most of us, it was a Resurrection Sunday like no other.
Like most of the United States—and possibly even the world—we are mostly quarantined to our homes. We have little opportunity to leave and live our ordinary lives. Even if we do leave, most businesses are closed so there are few places outside the grocery store and doctor where we can go.
And so, for the first time in my life, I was NOT in a church building for Easter.
My initial thought—like so many of us—was what now? We cannot NOT celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. It’s one day of the year where the vast majority of Christians turn our hearts toward God in a grand display of faith. For many, it is simply an annual tradition. For others, it is a time of true devotion, of pausing to remember the greatest sacrifice this world has ever known.
Most churches here are streaming their services online…which is a great option in our technological society so we don’t have to give up meeting together. As we entered this week, I assumed we would join Christians around the world in setting up our online services and worshipping together.
One morning as I was out walking and listening to a sermon, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit. I began to wonder if sitting in front of a computer was the best option for my family. We have had many online church services over the years due to sickness or other obstacles, and something just didn’t settle with my Spirit about an online Easter for my family.
And that’s when it all began to come together.
Can I just say that raising teenagers is hard? Can I say that raising teenagers who have been through all kinds of trauma is even harder? I always heard that, but it’s only been in the last few years that I have experienced it.
My kids are amazing! All three of them. But, they have scars, deep injuries that are in all stages of healing. I just had a feeling that we needed something different.
And maybe God knew we needed something different this year. Perhaps being quarantined together as a family is providing us with opportunities we never knew we needed. Perhaps quarantine is an answer to prayer. And perhaps the quarantine provided us with one of the best Easter celebrations we have experienced.
The last supper wasn’t a big gathering filled with all kinds of food and Easter baskets. It was an intimate gathering between Jesus and those closest to Him. We don’t know who else might have been present, but we do know it was in an upper room. It was a gathering to remember God’s rescue from Egypt, a time where they ate the Passover meal together and reflected on God’s faithfulness.
And that’s what I wanted for us.
Sunday morning, I made breakfast. After everyone had a hot meal, we gathered in the living room for our Easter service. I began by reading this short passage from Scripture:
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. John 13:1-5
I chose to say a few words about my family, about these four precious souls living under the same roof with me. I talked about the pain we have suffered and reminded them of God’s incredible love for us. I talked about Jesus taking the form of a servant, washing His disciples’ feet.
And then, one by one, I went around the room and washed my family’s feet. It wasn’t the act of washing their feet that was important. It was the opportunity to talk to each one individually, to hopefully speak words of life to them, to express things that often go unexpressed. It was the opportunity to pray individually with each of them, to spend a few minutes asking God’s blessings over each one while they heard those prayers.
I pray it was as meaningful to them as it was for me.
After the foot washing, Roy took a few minutes to share some thoughts that were on his mind, to talk about surrender. We have all walked through enough pain. We often find ourselves grappling for control. The truth is, we have no control. It is far better to simply surrender, to trust God to take our pain, our lives, and use it for our good and His glory. He is the only One who truly has any control.
We ended with communion, a quiet moment to reflect on God’s incredible gift and to remember His loving sacrifice. There are no words to explain the depth of His love, His gift to each of us. That’s what I want the kids to remember.
It was a different kind of Easter.
A very different kind of Easter.
And you know what? That’s ok. It’s more than Ok.
If we think about it, Jesus’ own sacrifice was different. He came into the world as a suffering servant, not a rescuing king as most Jews expected. He died on a cross instead of pulling the Jewish nation out of their bondage. Jesus life was anything but normal, anything but the expected.
Maybe that’s one of the things God wants to teach us during this time. Let’s stop doing things the “normal” way. If we look around our world, we can easily see that normal doesn’t work. Instead, let’s take the time to stop, to search our hearts, to connect with others. Let’s spend time together, unrushed and unhurried. Let’s simply pause and enjoy the gifts that are often right in front of our eyes.
Let’s make every day a unique celebration of our Savior’s gift to us.
Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Matthew 28:5-6
He is Risen! He is risen indeed!