How would you describe Easter 2020? Unusual to say the least? As if COVID-19 challenges weren’t enough, Easter storms provided another gut-punch in an already challenging situation. Our prayers certainly go out to those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as those who suffered property damage or even worse…loss of life…due to weather.
What I’d like for us to consider in this post is a little bit of a challenge. I know, I know. We’ve got enough challenges right now, right? True, but some day, (and I don’t have any insider information…), things will return to at least a semblance of normalcy. Either that, or Jesus will return, and I’m fine with the latter. But let’s just say that in the sometime-not-to-distant-future, businesses will reopen, people will get back to their workplaces, and we will once again be able to gather in groups larger than 10 not just comprised of immediate family. What will happen then?
If we look back at the most recent national tragedy, 9/11, research shows that there was an initial uptick in church attendance. People, at least initially, were drawn to spiritual things they felt were provided within the setting of the church. But after time…and it wasn’t that much time…things went back to “normal.” The spike of church attendance was nothing more than a brief blip on the radar screen. People resumed their old lives, doing as they pleased, and that was that.
I am in no way comparing the tragedy of 9/11 and its aftermath to what we are currently experiencing with the global pandemic of COVID-19. They are two completely separate beasts. Instead, what I want us to consider is this challenge: How will we be different once our lives and nation “return to normal?”
I would dare say that we have all learned some very valuable lessons during this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place. Perhaps we’ve also seen an ugly side of our lives…things we didn’t know were deep down within us that come festering to the top like a nasty boil. That’s the great thing about such challenging times. You get to see the real you.
Let’s not let this time of challenge go to waste in our lives. Absolutely, I want to get back to a normal work routine and see a ballgame being played. For goodness sake, I’d like to eat at a restaurant where I can sit at a table and not in my car. I most definitely want to get back to a full-steam Sunday School ministry in person. I can’t wait for us to gather in corporate worship again. But before that happens, I want to be ready. I want my mind to be ready, but more importantly, I want my heart to be ready. You see, things will never truly be the same as they were before…and that’s ok. Frankly, I don’t want to be the same either. I challenge you to let the Lord of the universe change your heart and mind today. May we come back together—whenever that will be-- as a people who look more like Christ and less like our old selves. I look forward in anticipation of that day!