I wrote this to my Worship Team a few nights before Easter and sent it on Easter Sunday morning:
My Beloved Worship Team,
For the first time in 15 years, I am not able to be with you all and share our traditional Easter Sunday brunch together. For the past 5 years I’ve scurried around during Holy Week setting up centers for Good Friday, practicing our special music, arranging flowers around our old rugged cross, getting the Upper Stage Room ready with centerpieces and picking up a special treat to enjoy together. I feel thrown off, completely undone, and it’s dizzying how we ended up here. Instead of feeling excited with great expectation, I feel heavy-burdened by all the loss and grief, and utterly alone without you, even as I am with my warriors about to go do this Easter Sunday worship together.
This will surely be an Easter to remember, and needless to say, not because it’s a joyful celebration. We’ve experienced so much death this Lenten season, I almost want to say let’s skip Lent next year. Or for the next few years. Even as we get ready to sing together, I still find myself asking God, How long, O Lord? How much longer, O Lord? Why, O Lord?
But today is about resurrection. Even as my heart is wrenched, I feel myself being pulled by the power of resurrection. We’ve experienced that agonizing Saturday much too long this season. And I desperately want to believe the word of the women, that Jesus is risen! Could it be true? Has he really rolled the stone away? Has he really entered this room, THIS room of doubt, fear, anxiety, and questioning? Are we allowed to… can we celebrate his resurrection and victory over death? When I imagine his disciples in that room as they realized Jesus had come in, I don’t necessarily imagine joyful celebration. I imagine just absolute shock and disbelief (a la Thomas) and incessant weeping. Just incessant weeping. At least that is how I would react.
And that is my reaction now. It feels altogether impossible to celebrate resurrection when there is so much death around us. But as Christians, we hope for the day when all of our sorrows and tears will pass away. We can trust in the one who will restore all things to wholeness and make everything right. One day. And we recognize that day is not today. And so while we praise God for the resurrection this Easter, we can also cry out and ask him our why’s. His faithfulness is not contingent upon our faithfulness. And that’s a relief.
It’s true, we’re physically apart, but we are woven together by the thread that is faith in the resurrection of Christ. Let’s worship with one heart, one mind, one accord today. As one body. Just as he’s called us to. Miss you and love you so very much.