I blanched when the reporter asked the question. “Should we just cancel Easter?” Cancel Easter?? It was the most ludicrous question I had heard since this Covid_19 crisis had hit us. I suppose her intent was to get some clarification from our federal health minister about how to go about celebrating Easter when we all must continue to social distance ourselves from one another, but it was obvious by his surprised expression that her question had caught him off guard as well. In the last couple of days leading up to Good Friday, we have been told repeatedly that we should celebrate Easter and Passover, but that we must do so by meeting online rather than in person. It is still mandatory that we continue to keep physical distancing so we can stop the spread of Covid_19. I had to laugh later that day when a little boy asked an online question to government officials whether or not the Easter Bunny would still be able to come. Both the Ontario Premier and the Quebec Premier in response said that the Easter Bunny is considered an “essential service”. The Quebec Premier also said the Tooth Fairy was also on the list of essential services. I suppose if the virus lasts well into the fall that the Great Pumpkin and Santa Claus will also be added to that list.
It has been almost four weeks since our Canadian government mandated that all Canadians should stay home to save lives. For me, with a compromised immunity, I have followed that mandate to the letter. My husband has done the grocery shopping while I stayed at home. Hand-washing has become second-nature to us both, and we have only socialized with our children using video conferencing. Our church meets online on Sundays, our small Bible study group meets virtually as well. I have only ventured out during this forced isolation to get my monthly B-12 shot from my local pharmacist and to go for a couple of drives with my husband. I miss hugging on my kids and grandbabies, thankful each day when they post a picture on social media of how they are doing as they are also in forced isolation.
Last Sunday, Palm Sunday, our Pastor delivered a poignant sermon on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem marking the beginning of the most important week in human history. Here is the link to his sermon if you would like to hear it. https://youtu.be/RjFV7e06XTs
We will be celebrating Easter a little differently this year. In previous years, my husband and I have participated in our small town’s “Cross Walk”, where all the churches of our community gather together to walk the Stations of the Cross along the main street of Cochrane. Several people carry the large, wooden cross as we sing hymns, read scripture and finally end up at the Cenotaph where the Cross is raised and a white piece of fabric is draped over the cross braces. On Easter Sunday, the white fabric is replaced with a purple one signifying Jesus’ Resurrection. This year, there will be no Cross Walk, respecting the mandate to not congregate in a group larger than fifteen due to the Covid_19 pandemic.
In previous years, I would prepare an Easter feast, a turkey dinner, and all my children would gather around the table. Resurrection Eggs would be displayed for the grandchildren to open. A great way for them to hear the Easter story in an interactive way. We had planned to have an Easter Egg hunt here at the Ponderosa for the four grandkids, but that was before Covid_19 forced us to change all our plans. This year, my husband and I will share a quiet, Easter meal on Saturday, just the two of us. Our children will not be gathered with us, but in their own separate homes. We plan on dropping off Easter chocolate treats on their doorsteps. We will blow them kisses, and call to them from a safe distance, all the while longing to take them all up in our arms and tell them how much we love them.
This Easter Sunday, our church body will meet online rather than in person, as we have done now over these many weeks. It will be strange not to greet one another in person and say, “He is Risen!” and have them respond in turn, “He is Risen Indeed!” Instead, my husband and I will sit by the T.V. and listen to our Pastor’s sermon, and participate in the Lord’s Supper in our home. We’ve been told to ensure we have the “elements” (juice, crackers) ready to partake in them at the invitation. Social distancing may force us to change the way we might celebrate Easter this year, but the impact of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection remains the same today, tomorrow and throughout eternity:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
Easter cannot be cancelled. In fact, I am praying that this year the Good News of Jesus Christ will be shared more boldly throughout the world than in previous years. I pray as people plan to stay connected but apart at Easter, that families will be forever impacted as they ponder upon the Greatest Story ever told. Read Matthew 26-28; Mark 15-16; Luke 22-24 and John 17-20.
I would love to hear how you celebrate Easter this year. Feel free to leave a comment. I wish all my readers a very Happy Easter and praying for your health and safety in the weeks and months ahead!