Easter, Plain and Simple

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Like yours, our Easter Sunday experience was very different this year. Our congregation celebrated and worshiped together on Facebook Live. It was the next best thing to being in church, but it wasn’t the same! While we had good participation and feedback, we all missed being together.

The best way to describe last Sunday? It was Easter, plain and simple. And in a way that wasn’t a bad thing. This year, COVID-19 restrictions stripped away most of the external signs usually associated with the holiday and left us with Easter – just Easter.

Inspired by this strange reality, I decided to send an email letter to many of our legislators ahead of Resurrection Sunday. I posted it on Facebook and encouraged others to do likewise.

The letter began, “For us here in Rhode Island and all over the U.S., this Easter Sunday is going to be very different to say the least.” No more Easter Bunny at the mall, no large egg hunts, no big family gatherings where generations congregate and indulge in great food and overeating. But when all that is stripped away, it’s still Easter – plain and simple.

Easter is the day that highlights the cornerstone truth of the Christian faith: that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

COVID-19 is yet another point in history that makes us realize that we do not have complete control of our lives or the future. Through this crisis we’ve been reminded that we ultimately must depend on the One that does have control, and ask him for direction and grace in our time of need.

It would have been great to have heard our Governor declare a Day of Prayer, asking for God’s help during this crisis. Obviously, that didn’t happen. That would have been an acknowledgement that we have moved far away from God’s moral and ethical laws and that we need to change direction.

In my letter, I urged our elected officials to ask for God’s help on behalf of the people of Rhode Island. “If you consider yourself a conservative,” I wrote, “then there is a good chance that Judeo-Christian values matter to you and you have a sense of responsibility to Almighty God for your position. As ‘believers’ we are told to pray for you and so we pray that this Easter, the ‘Risen Christ’ would give you greater grace, wisdom and boldness as we face the post-COVID-19 challenges ahead.”

Will you join me in praying for our leaders?