A Holy Week Like No Other
“Covid-19 outbreak alters Holy Week celebrations worldwide, but not the spirit.”
This article headline from the Sentinel-Record captures the essence of what so many of us are experiencing during this new reality that we all find ourselves in during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our lives have been altered. Our days are beginning to blur together. So many of the cherished practices that we cling to as believers seem to have been taken away from us. Yet underneath all of the uncertainty lies a characteristic I have begun to see in us as a faith community that I had not previously thought of as a quintessential Christian trait, tenacity.
The very first Sunday that our beloved church held worship to empty pews and seats was a surprisingly energetic experience. The worship teams sung as if the Holy Spirit had filled every inch of those spaces, because it had. I centered myself deeply during the contemporary service and couldn’t help but raise my hands in praise as the modern worship team belted out songs of worship with gusto! And when I spoke to the camera, I could see in my mind's eye all of the folks whom I love interacting with on what used to be a typical Sunday. The hymns in the traditional service took me back to fond childhood memories in church with my family. As I’ve spoken to members of Long’s Chapel, I hear story after story of surprising optimism as folks are finding profound ways to connect with their loved ones and even many that are taking advantage of the extra family time. My inbox is flooded with opportunities to seek local grants for our local missions, and I am having to charge my phone from overuse by midday as I connect hour after hour with others who are seeking to pursue God’s Kingdom. My friends, God’s people, are tenacious.
When I reflect upon this, I am almost embarrassed that I did not recognize it before and that it took this pandemic crisis to illuminate its truth. After all, the story of Jesus is a story of holy tenacity. Holy Week reflects the very Spirit of the eternal Hope that we find in Christ. Even when the privileged leaders of this world so feared the power of His Truth and Love that they put Him to death, our savior rose in victory over the power of sin and death. We are currently witnessing in our time something that we confess as believers, the promise that there is absolutely nothing that can overcome the Grace, the Truth, and the Light of Christ that lives within us. The Spirit within us is a tenacious Spirit, and it will not be overcome by anything of this world.
Our invitation this weekend is to overcome the weight of the world and experience Christ with us. Meditate upon the profound sacrifice that Jesus made during our Good Friday digital worship service, which will be streamed live at 6:30 pm this Friday, April 10. And this Sunday, April 12, join us for one or more of our three digital Easter worship experiences which will be streamed live at 9:00 am, 10:10 am, and 11:11 am.
May the Peace of Christ find you right where you are this Holy Week. And remember that the Holy Spirit is bound by neither time nor space as we prepare to celebrate the miracle of Christ and the gift of His Grace.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Tom Henderson Owens
Executive Pastor of Ministries