A Message from Pastor Harvey
Greetings My Brothers and Sisters..
It is settled. We will celebrate Easter in 2020 by gathering online. We will not assemble physically. At first
this might seem a poor way to celebrate Easter, but there is a strong historical precedent for gathering
individually and in small family groups.
The first Easter was celebrated first by two women, according to Matthew’s account. Then a small gathering of 11 male disciples. I’m not even sure you could call the first Easter a celebration. And so, even though I deeply regret that we are unable to celebrate Easter in our church sanctuary together, one of our members reminded me that Christ is raised from the dead without our presence or our help. Easter happens, with us or without us.
What I took that to mean is that our God is faithful and trustworthy and loving. And because this is true, Easter happens. Easter happens by God’s will. It is good when we bear witness to the risen Christ. It is good for us to celebrate the risen Christ: not just on Easter Sunday but every Sunday and maybe every day. But whether we do or we don’t Easter happens. It doesn’t depend on us. Easter happens. (And that most assuredly ought to be a bumper sticker.)
I am looking forward to the day the church as a whole, and this congregation may safely gather together in the flesh (if you will). After the long social isolation that we have endured, from physically gathering together as a congregation, but also with friends and family, it will, in some ways, be like the church is resurrected.
I am very grateful that in the meantime, most of us have been able to gather together digitally online. But there are members of the body of Christ who do have access to our digital gathering. But even if every member was able to join our online worship service, I would still miss being with you physically and seeing your faces and being able to physically administer Holy Communion and the “Peace of God.”
I hope you are continuing in health; meaning physical health as well as mental and spiritual health. Maybe it helps to keep this social isolation in perspective. The Israelites traveled in the wilderness for 40 years. Anne Frank hid from the Nazis for two years before she was caught and died in a Nazi Death Camp. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years during South Africa’s apartheid before he was released and became that county’s President.
I give you these facts because even though I am complaining, maybe even feeling sorry for myself and all of us, because of the social isolation, I agree with the policy and I know it is for our own good. We are voluntarily holding ourselves apart because we love each other. I am not holding myself apart from you because I am afraid you might be infected and I am scared I will become sick. No, I am holding myself apart because I am assuming I might be already be infected and I do not want to harm you. Please know that God is with you, as we, the body of Christ, also hold you in our hearts.
Your Shepherd in Christ,