When Easter comes each year, it brings us Hope and Joy. Certainly Easter will feel different for us this year. It just won’t feel the same without our large group gatherings for Easter worship, Easter egg hunts or Easter dinners with extended family. Many of our local churches have opted for virtual worship using video technology or Facebook live. Perhaps it’s helpful to realize that the very first resurrection appearances were not large group gatherings. In fact, the resurrection account at the end of Matthew’s Gospel mentions only Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, easy qualifying for the guidelines put in place by Gov. Kim Reynolds to prohibit gatherings of more than ten people. Even without a massive number of people, Easter is still coming. In fact, Easter is now here and there’s nothing the coronavirus can do to stop it.
How will you celebrate the new life brought about by the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Allow me to make two suggestions. Read Matthew 28 or a similar Scripture at the end of one of the gospels. Reflect on the new life that has come to you through our Living Lord Jesus. After the Bible reading, slow yourself down by practicing a “breath prayer.” In a breath prayer, you breathe in God’s grace and breathe out God’s praise. For Easter, breathe in “Christ is Risen” and breathe out a strong “Alleluia!” Try this several times. I’ve been reading about breath prayer and other spiritual practices in the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. Calhoun suggests that we breathe in “Healer” and breathe out “speak the word and I shall be healed.” (p. 204) This will propel your prayers toward the healing of the world during our current health crisis. In this radically different Holy Week may you become more aware of the real presence of the Living Christ, the Son of God who restores life.