Easter Hope in Quarantine

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

I have always looked forward to Easter. If I am honest, it probably has a lot to do with the amount of candy involved in the holiday celebration- I LOVE jelly beans! I also have very fond memories of hunting for Easter Eggs. Again, the candy was a draw, but so was experiencing the newness of spring that surrounded me as I searched for pastel-color, plastic eggs. The grass was newly green, trees and plants were blooming, the rays of sunshine were seemingly a little warmer than they were just a few weeks prior. There is something special about the emergence of spring and all that comes with it.

Now with a 3-year-old daughter and a 18-month-old son, Easter 2020 was going to be another joyful occasion full or Easter Egg Hunts, family and friends, church, good food, and, of course, jelly beans! Enter COVID-19. Everything changes. Most of the world is effectively on lockdown. Social gatherings are severely limited to not permitted. Easter Egg Hunts are still possible, but now significantly toned down from my childhood memories of me and my many cousins descending on my grandparent’s yard like a bunch of ants. Thankfully, jelly beans are still in the mix and church is available online, but most of what defines Easter for me looks a lot different in 2020.

Interestingly, there is one element of my Easter experience that has not been impacted by COVID-19 and its fallout- the newness of spring. Trees and flowers are still blooming. Grass is turning green. The sun feels a little bit warmer. The rebirth that happens to the Earth in my part of the world in spring continues on, unencumbered by the chaos that surrounds it.

This picture of encumbered newness and rebirth provided by spring is a beautiful reflection of something else that has not changed this Easter. Despite the chaos, fear, and uncertainty present in our world today, the message of Easter has not changed, and has maybe even been highlighted.

Easter is the ultimate picture of undeterred newness and rebirth. In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome he wrote, “You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person some might possibly dare it die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8) Paul is saying Jesus came and died so that we could live a new life. He was not deterred by our imperfections, the pain and suffering required, or the plans of others. Jesus came to offer a broken world newness and rebirth, and nothing was going to stop him.

This is what we celebrate at Easter. At a time when very little appears to right in our world, we can know that God’s love for us never changes. With or without COVID-19, God desires us to experience the new life that is found in Christ. As you look at the rebirth happening in the trees and plants around you this spring, be reminded that you have the same opportunity to find newness and rebirth in Jesus. Maybe in 2020, when most of what we know appears to be broken, we can find even more hope, peace, and wholeness in the message of Easter.

Happy Easter!

– James Belt

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