This year, Easter Sunday falls during the COVID-19 pandemic. A time when we are secluded in our homes and told to wrap our faces in cloth if we dare to go out for groceries or supplies. Walk into the grocery store, and you'll see people wandering quietly through the aisles with gloved hands and masked faces. Get too close, and you'll register a wide-eyed look of alarm on the face of that passer-by. We are in hiding from an invisible beast.
*"The Beast" is what people are naming the virus.* It attacks ferociously in the night with spiked fevers, aches, lung binding, and hallucinations. COVID-19 is a "breath-taking" virus. It steals the breath from people's bodies in a particularly terrifying way. It strikes suddenly leaving us frightened and breathless. With no cure in sight, the only thing we can do is hide away, covering our noses and faces with cloth, hoping to keep the aggressive beast away from our lungs.
COVID-19 is a death threat that has already made good on many lives. This brutal virus makes us feel that *we are locked up in a dark tomb for an impossibly long duration*, as though the *darkness of "Good Friday" might go on forever* with little hope in sight. And yet all around us, we see signs of spring, signs of awakening, signs of hope, signs of resurrection. We know life as we know it may be dampened down for now, covered in what feels like "funeral clothing." And yet, spring blooms eternal. All around us: Birds sing, the sun bursts out from the winter clouds, trees bud, flowers unfurl, the ground thaws, and God unwraps an entirely new landscape of color and life. But for now, we wait.
I wonder what it must have felt like for Jesus those "three days" in the tomb, knowing resurrection was imminent, yet waiting for dawn to come on that magnificent morning when the stone was rolled away, and the sun streamed through, when an "angel of the Lord" removed the funerary cloth from Jesus' face, and the Holy Spirit breathed again the holy breath of life into His stricken body and made it rise like Ezekiel's bones from the valley of the shadow of death. Three days of darkness. Then, new and restored life. Not the same life. But a restored, resurrected life.
Today, as we celebrate Easter morning, resurrection means so much more to us than it did before. For we have been living in darkness, confined to a kind of tomblike existence. *Life as we have known it has stopped.*
*We don't go out to work.*
*We don't go out to play.*
*We hide our faces;*
*we guard our lungs.*
*We walk zombie-like through our homes and streets,* frightened, and covered in our own kind of "funerary" cloths, so that the cold breath of death might pass us by, that invisible breath-stealing beast that threatens us and keeps us locked away, for a time.
*But only for a time.*
Life in waiting is merely that, a time of waiting. And yet a time of expectation. For we know that no matter what, *that beast has no power over us.* God's resurrection breath will raise us up. *A new day will dawn, soon.* Very soon....