The Day After Easter

(Guest Blogger, Mary Rhodes)

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

The writer Ann Lamott has come up with a great name for this pandemic journey we’re all on together: “Covid College”. And when you think about it, we have been in a weird kind of shared classroom this past year, forcing us to change and grow. Last week, Pastor Jen revealed a bit of her own Covid College experience when she blogged about how reluctant she felt this Easter season to embark on the pathos of the stories of Holy Week. “I’ve felt those things too much and too often already in this past year,” she wrote. Can we all relate?

It’s interesting that our sacred telling of the Easter story in 2020 and 2021 almost bookends our first year at Covid College. A high point of Easter last year for my husband Steve and me was the surprise of seeing Pastor Pete and Bonnie on our driveway in their car packed with hydrangeas, begonias and Lillies. Their “drive-by delivery” brought a bright and unexpected human touch while we felt so cut off from our church and world.

This Year?

Holy Week: All the chaotic, fast-moving and volatile stories of Holy Week– power-hungry Pharisees; treacherous Judas; frightened Peter; Weak-willed Pontius Pilate; fickle crowds that welcome Jesus one day, then shout to crucify him five days later– helped me see Jesus in a new way. I kept thinking: That’s exactly how my world feels to me right now. I discovered this new connection to a Savior who knows how it feels to navigate constant uncertainty, disappointment, and risk. Jesus triumphed over life’s toughest roadblocks. Now he walks alongside us too.

Easter Sunday: This was my first Sunday service after zooming for 12 months. What a coming-out party! Still, the hard lessons of the day were clear: “If ever there was a year we come to Jesus’ tomb with tears, this is it,” said Pastor Pete. “If you came here weeping this morning, God is so close. He will meet your tears, your sorrows and griefs right where you are.” Our glorious Sunday celebration was a full-blown, all-out tribute to the power of church and community. Thank you, Winnetka Covenant! He is risen, indeed!

Our Leaders: Should we take a congregational vote on whether to let Pastor Pete retire his polka dot blanket? Will Pastor Joel, after his epic Holy Week monologue on facebook, be the next breakout podcast personality? Is Pastor Jen destined for the British Baking Show? Are there adequate words to describe the power and range of Dimitri’s talents? This has been a year of creativity and resourcefulness for our leaders as they’ve battled their own pandemic fears and crises while finding new ways–from their kitchen table and living room couch– to encourage and lift us up with God’s Word. There are still a lot of unknowns and tough decisions. We’re not out of the Covid woods yet. But we’re blessed by the innovative ways they keep us connected and inspired. They are in our prayers.

We’ve all changed. In fact, there’s a lot of areas we individual members may decide to cut out of our lives; things we’ve discovered we don’t need or care about after this past Covid College year.

But we know this: we need Church!

Mary Rhodes

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