Sunday, April 12, 2020
Easter in a time of global darkness and despair
"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."
Pope John Paul II
Last Easter I wrote about the fire at the venerable Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Nearly a year after
that terrible inferno, Notre Dame opened for a a small Good Friday Service in the midst of a pandemic lockdown.
USA Today reported that a small group of seven worshipers gathered inside the historic Gothic structure (which is closed to the public) for 40 minutes of prayer, music and readings. The group presumably remained far apart and took every precaution to protect themselves from COVID-19.
In a video news conference, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit stated, "This message of hope is especially important in these days where we are particularly affected by coronavirus, which is sowing anguish, death and paralysis in our country and the world."
This Easter, I find myself trying to find hope in a time of global chaos and suffering. This is the first Easter that I and countless others around the world are unable to spend with family members. It is the first Easter that I have had to attend church online. Still, I know I am more blessed than millions of people in the world. I have food and a roof over my head. I have not contracted the virus and I am not in physical pain. Yes, it is a stressful and worrisome time. In fact, to be absolutely honest, it is a global nightmare. People are suffering and dying and it's difficult to stay positive when the news is filled with so much doom and gloom.
Yes, we can use our time at home to take stock of our lives, to figure out what is really important to us. Yes, we can lend a hand to those who are alone and vulnerable. Still, I will not sugarcoat this disaster. This is not easy. Our lives are not normal and there is so much sickness and death. We can not come and go as we please. So many events in our lives have had to be cancelled or delayed. However, as Queen Elizabeth II, stated in her Easter message," Easter has not been cancelled." It can't be cancelled and it will go on forever.
This pandemic cannot last forever, so I wait for a better day. Next year I hope to celebrate with family and friends. We will stand together.
"This too shall pass"
- Persian proverb expressing the temporary nature or ephemerality of the human or earthly condition.
"And not only this, but we also exalt in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
- Romans 5:3-5