April 8, 2020
I do not recall an Easter Sunday when I was not in church. Perhaps a snowstorm cancelled an Easter service once during my growing up years in Colorado – that is possible. Easter is always spent at church with a group of people celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Anticipating this coming Sunday without this feels strange and causes a sense of loss.
However, the first Easter was celebrated without a crowd. Jesus’ close friends were in hiding – we could call it “isolation lockdown.” They feared the Jews would find them and, knowing they were followers of Jesus, eliminate them. Jesus’ friends did not believe He was alive, nor did the women who visited the tomb and found it empty. When you read about it, it is a hopeless scene.
As the day progressed, most of the disciples acknowledged that Jesus was alive – as did the women. Some even walked and talked with Him but did not recognize Him until later. By the end of the day, He appeared to them as a group and most believed (it took Thomas a little longer to come to faith). Within a few weeks, Jesus left them, with a promise to return. He promised His Spirit would indwell them and they would tell His Story.
As time went by, these followers of Jesus would enjoy both the blessing of worshiping Him with a crowd, as well as times when they met in seclusion to avoid persecution and death. That pattern has not changed. Many of our fellow believers will be alone or with a small group as they celebrate Easter. Unless our nation has a significant turning to God, this could be in our future. I pray that I would be found faithful in that situation.
Certainly, Jesus knows what it means to be alone – just Himself and the Father – when not one human on Planet Earth was there to comfort Him. This Sunday, we will think of our church family and our friends and family everywhere. We will watch the video on our Wood Village Baptist Church website and we will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with gratefulness. But I admit that it feels like something very special has been temporarily taken away. I must focus on the joy-filled reality that HE IS RISEN – HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Pastor Bill Ehmann