Letter from Fr David to Congregation
March 31, 2020
We are now a week away from entering into the most sacred of times for the Christian community. This Sunday, we will observe Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday. From there we enter into the Great Triduum (the Great Three Days) of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Every other year, we would be talking about blessing of palms, decorating the chapel, stripping the altar, decorating the church, and starting Easter off with a sunrise service and ending with an Easter brunch. But not this year. This year, each home will have to decide how to observe and celebrate this most holy time.
We do long for some “return to normal”, don’t we? A chance to run to Walmart or Kwik Trip and not be constantly checking the distance between us and the people around us. But will we return to what we have known, or enter a new place and time?
The people of Israel were led by Moses out of the land of Egypt and spent many years in the wilderness. Along the way, there were many times when the people tired of the separation and hardships of the wilderness, even the disease and death that seemed to dog them along the way. They often asked to return to Egypt, even if it meant once more being slaves. But Moses led them on, and finally they reached the land and the life God had promised them. Yet it was not just about taking possession of their own land. It was also entering into a new relationship, a covenant with God. They would no longer be a “people” of the world; they would become God’s people, God’s family.
It is my hope that as we move through this time of our own wilderness, we will take lessons from the story of Exodus. Though it is tempting to cry out we just want to return to what we knew, the reality is that this experience is changing us. We have new appreciation for hygiene. We understand what a gift being able to communicate is, and how much we miss it when it isn’t available. Sunday mornings seem “empty” in many ways despite our best efforts. Our relationships with one another and even with God have been tested because the “normal” has been taken from us.
What moves me, what motivates me, is the memory of how God brought the people into a new land with an expectation. They would not just be free from Egypt and have their own land. They would enter a new relationship with God and with each other. I believe that should be our expectation as well. The God we thought we knew will now also be the God who walked us through this wilderness. The God we thought we had a relationship with will now be the God who has renewed and restored us. Our covenant, often talked about on Easter and other days we renew that covenant, will take on a whole new relevance, and that includes our response to God’s promise to walk with us always.
Until we open the doors once more and celebrate as a community, we will give you all the resources we know of so you can observe and celebrate Holy Week and Easter at home. Please use them, please do not let this opportunity pass. Invite God into your home, and into your life always, but especially in this coming week. Let God walk with you and shape your life by His love and grace, and may the power of resurrection fill your home and your heart always!
Yours in Christ,