As I sit down to write this article, it is in no way near anything I had thought about writing in the past, as I looked towards the end of March, with Easter fast approaching, and themes of Spring and new birth. Now it is all different because of a virus. Now people are inside, distanced from one another, and only God knows if we will have public Easter celebrations.
I think there are some things that we can take away from this experience, that even though something bad is taking place, we can find some good in the lessons that we can learn. First and foremost, let us look at why we celebrate Easter. We get to celebrate Easter because of sin. That’s right, because we sinned, God came to our rescue. Jesus died onthe cross to destroy sin and death, and he rose triumphantly from the grave onthe third day, destroying sin and death.
What is sin? The wordin Greek used for sin means missing the mark. It came from archery. What is the mark? Love, but more specifically loving as Christ loves. The other way to see it is that sin like evil is a privation of the good, meaning we do what we should not do, or we do not do what we should do. That lack of good is evil and sin.
What does this have to do with a virus? Well look how fast and mysteriously the virus passes from one person to another. Sin and grace pass rapidly as well. Look back in history and you can see how fast Christianity spread, because people saw Christ in the way Christians lovedpeople, and many people wanted to become Christian. There are some great books on this by Rodney Stark.
Sin passes fast as well, as people learn to do bad things from our example or learn not to do good things because of our example or lackof example. Sin also isolates us from each other as our ability to love is wounded if not destroyed and our abilityto relate to one another diminishes. But remember love conquers sin, Christ’s response to violence and being crucified, is love. He breaks the cycle of sin and death.
This is the second thing we can learn form isolation, lookat the physical isolation, it shows us what sin does to us. But also look at how our society has evolved and at times how little human interaction we have with one another. Even when we are around people, do we connect and have healthy human relationships or are we passing time together as we go from one thing to the next?
I think that in the midst of these times, we need to look out for each other, we need to continue to build and maintain healthy relationships. While we cannot go out toeat, or get a cup of coffee in a group, we can still call and check on our loved ones, family, friends, and neighbors.
The saddest thing at this time is the fact that we cannot gather for church. Since the beginning of the Church this is what Christians do, and now we have to wait until we can gather again. It is a time to continue to get to know the Lord and deepen our relationship with him and our community so that when we can go back to church, we can continue further ahead than whenwe left.
If you have never read the Gospels straight through, it is a beautiful way to encounter Christ in the scriptures. One thing that can help as well, is ignoringall the passage titles just read it as one text going from one thing to the next. It is a good way to encounter the scripture as it was written and to get to know Christ and his story in a new way.
Hopefully sooner than later we will be able to gather together again as community and have a taste of the resurrection in new and deeper community life.