Happy Easter Monday everyone! For those of us who celebrate Easter, Passover, or Ramadan this is a special time for us. A time filled with family meals and celebrations. But this year our celebrations are different. As the world is grappling with the effects from COVID-19, many of us have had to celebrate these holidays separate from the ones we love unable to go to our prospective houses of worship.
For me, I watched an Easter service from the comfort of my bed, and while it was different for me to not get dressed in an Easter outfit or spend time with my family, the message of Easter has not changed. What was true last year is still true this year, and what I believe is not dependent on whether I can go to church. I know for the past few weeks; some pastors have still been holding services putting their parishioners and their communities at risk. God is not a God of a building. Church can be a room with 3 people, quiet mediation by yourself, or a megachurch filled with thousands of people. We must stop confining God to a box. He is bigger than that.
I know for many people, going to church is a part of their routine. It’s their community, their haven from the world. I understand that feeling, but we as God’s people also have a responsibility to care for those who cannot care for themselves. This virus is affecting those who are most at risk, and by continuing to meet we are doing them a disservice. Is your right to go to church worth someone’s life? By disobeying the guidelines and orders from those in charge we are not only disobeying authority but God who says we should submit to authority.
Many people argue that if you are scared or worried about getting sick that you lack faith. The Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for being proof of what we do not see. So yes, panicking might not be the best response, but exercising wisdom and caution have nothing to do with faith. God has given us both. If I go the rooftop of my building and jump off the ledge, I can have faith that God will catch me or I can exercise the wisdom he has given me and not make a stupid life-ending decision. This was the example Jesus gave us when he was tempted in the wilderness. Jesus’s response to the devil, “It is written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
During times like this, we should be his hands and feet. Not trying to prove that our faith is stronger than someone else’s. I believe that’s what God would want us to do. When this is over, the question will not be did you make it to church every Sunday, but how did you help those who were hurting? I want my answer to be that I did what I could do to protect those around me. That’s what we should all strive for.