Last Easter, I spent half of my column for the Easter newsletter explaining when I came to faith, and how I spent my first Holy Week as a new Christian. It was a meaningful time full of rich worship experiences. My goal was to show the contrast we were facing with the pandemic taking hold, that we were forced to worship virtually, a situation none of us wanted, but all of us had to face.
I had hoped this Easter would be different, and yet here we are, facing the same situation. The biggest difference this year is that we are having the annual Sunrise Service, which will be an outdoor, in-person event. On Good Friday morning, we are participating in the ecumenical “CrossWalk,” during which the group gathered participates in a kind of “stations of the cross” as we walk through town remembering the suffering of Jesus.
This Easter, we are once again celebrating virtually at CTPC. (All are Welcome – Attend here – Facebook account NOT required.) I’m not going to spend any time here defending or explaining the session’s decision to wait until May to re-open in-person worship. That information is in previous newsletters.
I do, however, want to revisit what I wrote last year at the end of my column…
“…it is vitally important to remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not about how many times we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, it’s not about which hymns we sing and when, it’s not about the Sunrise Service or the breakfast at church. Those things are important ways in which we celebrate the day, but they are not the day itself. We read these words in 1 John 4:9,10:
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
I know we would rather celebrate Christ’s resurrection in person. We must remember, though, that even though we are limited to virtual worship this Easter, nothing about Christ’s resurrection changes for us. That is the Good news: God loves us, God saves us, and God offers us eternal life through his risen Son! We may not be celebrating the way we want to, but we must absolutely celebrate, for this is the eternal gospel of God, the good news in which we place our hope!