We are living in unprecedented times. I have seen the phrase unprecedented times much over the past few weeks in emails, on grocery store aisles, and on building entrances. Since this pandemic hit home I have been in survival and action mode. I was really too busy to process all that was taking place.
The virus hit state side. Covid cases were going up and I as a Nurse Practitioner was advised I would shift to 100 percent virtual care. Day 1 we hit the ground running. Patient after patient kept coming via virtual platforms. People had questions and understandable fears. We were educating them while learning ourselves. The situation was and is fluid. Sorting through symptoms and protocols, we developed treatment plans one encounter at a time. They seemed endless.
On the work front and homefront many things unfolded in just three weeks. We were washing our hands , social distancing, and ordering groceries online, and searching for toilet paper. Everything shifted to a virtual world. So much change in a short time, but I can tell you the moment it hit me.
I read the email from my Bishop. It was a letter informing us that for the safety of our parish we would adhere to CDC guidelines and our worship service would not take place at that Sunday at church, but instead online. Tears flooded my eyes and streamed down my face as I read on through his prayers and encouragement, but with a dose of reality that Holy Week this year very well may look different. Those tears were grief, regret, sadness, fear, hope, frustration and every emotion bottled up in me since this thing took off.
‘Holy Week!’ My heart and soul lamented. This Holy Week that I have come to love and hold in high regard will likely not take place as I have come to know and love it. It hurt. It burned. Some may ask, why? What is the big deal?
Holy Week is a journey. A walk with Jesus every year from his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday to the Resurrection Sunday. In between those two Sundays so much occurs. Jesus delivers his disciples heart felt teaching. Rabbi until the very end as he teaches them by his words and actions how to love and serve. He washes the feet of all his disciples including the ones who would deny and betray him. His moments in Gethsemane… His trial… His cross bearing down the Via Dolorosa… His crucifixion… His death… Those dark hours… … … and then the Resurrection.
There is something about the Holy Week journey that leads me to really grasp the joy of the Resurrection. There is so much that happens in between those two Sundays to Jesus and as a result to me each year we walk through it. It has truly been a turning point in my faith journey. Each year He offers something new that helps me learn and grow more like him each time. The thought of not being able to go through this week honoring and focusing on Jesus the way I have come to know and love left my heart in anguish and sorrow.
Wanting to do something, I felt moved to pray for Another Easter Miracle. The Resurrection miracle that defeated sin and death reconciled me and all who believe in Jesus to our Holy God. This reconciliation affords us the ability to appeal to our God in prayer. So I began a Facebook group. I invited prayer warriors and began adding more brothers and sisters to the group. I would post prayers as I was led and welcomed the prayers and requests of others. Truly praying for an Easter Miracle to be in fellowship with my church family by Easter.
Somewhere in the journey the Lord whispered to me. ‘Easter will be different this year. I don’t want you to do the same thing you have always done. I am doing something new.’
Normally we get dressed up and invite friends and family to Easter service and we go to church and worship in our many different God honoring styles. It seemed as if God was whispering, ‘I don’t want you to go to church, I want you to BE the CHURCH.’
So I shared this with my prayer group to both pray about and discuss with their church leaders. As I prayed my expectations changed. I then updated my prayer page description. The update starts after the word “land.”
So we are still praying for another Easter Miracle. However we are laying down our expectations. Just as those in Jesus’s day that had one expectation of what Messiah would look like, He did not meet those expectations, but instead exceeded them. We too are hopeful that Jesus will yet again exceed our expectations as we move into this Unprecedented Holy Week.
Let us Be the Church this Holy Week! Ask God what that looks like for you and your family.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:5 ESV