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Coronavirus leaves churches empty, but we remember Easter’s timeless message of hope

April 12, 2020

It’s safe to say I haven’t experienced anything like the coronavirus in my lifetime. I never imagined celebrating Holy Week at home with only my immediate family.

 

This virus is disruptive. I miss gathering with groups of close friends and with the entire, dedicated congregation of Free Chapel where I serve as pastor. I wept during our Livestream on Palm Sunday when it finally hit me how much I truly miss gathering together for worship. I’ll never take it for granted again!

But at this unique moment in our lives, it’s important to remember that the Easter message, the story of death and resurrection, is still a timeless message of hope.

God is still with us. He hasn't forsaken us. He is still in control.

When we face giants and obstacles — some familiar, and some completely unthinkable — it may seem dark and dry for a season. But we have to remember it’s only a season. The Psalmist tells us, “Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

There's certainly a lot of sadness surrounding the narrative of this year’s Easter season. I’ve also been asked frequently what it’s like to shepherd a flock from a distance in these strange times.

First off, I don’t want to diminish what we’re grieving today. We all look forward with great anticipation of singing praises to our Savior as one unified body and celebrating the resurrection with our church family.

What’s more, our celebrations afterward will look different this year, with many having to forgo traditions of extended family and friends gathering together for an Easter dinner.

There is indeed a deep yearning and a hunger to come back together.

At the same time, there is still much to celebrate despite this disruption. We're seeing record numbers tuning in to our online services. This crisis has brought many to their knees, looking for answers, looking for hope. Perhaps many wouldn’t have lifted their gaze toward heaven if their world wasn’t shaken like it is now.

But the best part of all? The church, the Body of Christ, is looking more and more like the church was intended as the days roll by. We're acting as first responders in this crisis throughout our communities.

At Free Chapel, we’ve served tens of thousands of meals to those hurt financially by this pandemic. We’ve called to check in on over 20,000 seniors in our neighborhoods and ensure they’re healthy and they have what they need.

We're behaving like the church is supposed to in a time of crisis. We’re still a light in the darkness. So in that sense, nothing’s actually changed at all. If anything, we’re more like a church than we ever have been.

We're behaving like the church is supposed to in a time of crisis. We’re still a light in the darkness. So in that sense, nothing’s actually changed at all. If anything, we’re more like a church than we ever have been.

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