Tuesday, April 14, 2020
“Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised. . .” Matthew 28:5,6
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen, Indeed!
Happy Easter! Yes, it is still Easter. Sunday was just the first day of the almost 50 day Easter season which ends on the day of Pentecost (May 31 this year) when the Holy Spirit filled his followers who were gathered in Jerusalem. We don’t know when we will be able to once again congregate in our sanctuary, but when we do, what a day of rejoicing that will be! But in the midst of all that is happening we can always rejoice that Christ is Indeed Risen!
No one can deny that Easter Sunday 2020 was not the usual celebration with a full sanctuary, but “Shelter in Place” did not stop Easter Sunday, nor Holy week from coming. My heart is full when I think of the many ways you did not stop Easter, the celebration of Christ’s raising from the tomb, from coming. There are so many of you working hard to keep us connected, to keep the bills paid, to continue to decorate the sanctuary, to provide music, to operate the microphones and video for our live stream worship, to do the filming and to get the services uploaded live on Facebook and later to our You Tube Channel, and to prepare and deliver 43 take out Easter breakfasts!
As I started to write this letter I wanted to name all the people who are helping to make sure Eureka First UMC continues to be Christ’s church in this community, but I know I would leave someone out! Well over 30 people made sure Easter service and breakfast happened – some of them coming into the church alone to prepare, some making phone calls from home, and all practicing social distancing so that we could work safely. Our live stream service was seen by at least 75 households and more watched the service later. You can still find our recorded service on Facebook or YouTube by selecting a link on the front page of our church website (https://firstumceureka.org/).
The Coronavirus has altered the way we are living, but it could not stop Easter from coming. Below, I share with you something sent to me by Mary Scott written by Kristi Bothur (with a nod to Dr. Seuss). I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you find ways to continue to celebrate and announce the Risen Christ!
How the Virus Stole Easter
by Kristi Bothur (with a nod to Dr. Seuss)
‘Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began,
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no children in school.
As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.
April approached and churches were closed;
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.
“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t venture out.”
Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest.
The world was focused on masks and on tests.
“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed.
“Online and at home, it just won’t be the same.”
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it would just not relent.
The world woke on Sunday and nothing had changed.
The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.
“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world was grumbling.
“They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.
“They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
And then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.
“That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.”
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.
And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies.
It started down low, then it started to rise.
But the sound wasn’t depressed.
Why, this sound was triumphant!
It couldn’t be so!
But it grew with abundance!
The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!
Every saint in every nation, the tall and the small,
Was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!
It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine
Stood puzzling and puzzling.
“Just how can it be?”
“It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies,
It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”
Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
And what happened then?
Well….the story’s not done.
What will YOU do?
Will you share with that one
Or two or more people needing hope in this night?
Will you share the source of your life in this fight?
The churches are empty – but so is the tomb,
And Jesus is victor over death, doom, and gloom.
So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer,
As the virus still rages all around, everywhere.
May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people.
May the world see the church is not a building or steeple.
May the world find Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.
May 2020 be known as the year of survival,
But not only that –
Let it start a revival.