Growing up in church the two weeks before Easter were easily the most busy of the year. There are rehearsals for Easter plays, musicians and singers gearing up for what is usually the most elaborate song sets. This is the time for visitors to come, or at least the people that only come to church on Christmas and Easter. And now here we are right before Easter in our homes, everything grinding to a halt.
I do not believe in coincidences and I do believe that all things happen for a reason, most of the time the reason is not known to us. With the unknown we can respond with anger, frustration, grieving or we can lean into the uncertain and discern what does that mean for us?
Personally, the thought of spending an undefined period of time alone in my apartment scared me. It is no secret that I experience depression and from time to time it is triggered by loneliness and anxiety.
What I have found during this time is opportunity, unprecedented space and time to sit with my own thoughts and reflect. I have discovered an opportunity to reconnect with God in ways I had not thought of before. Right before this started, I had ordered a copy of the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. In this book, Spiritual Disciplines like prayer, meditation, fasting and solitude are explained for the modern Christian.
What if, in this Lenten season where Christians around the world are giving up things in order to grow closer to God, we see this time of being at home as a time to give up busyness, to give up consumerism, to give up greed. The spiritual disciplines have a way of quieting the noise around us and amplifying what is within us, what consumes our thoughts, it exposes the parts of us that God desires to heal.
And what we have to gain is as important as what we are giving up. When we gain a deeper awareness of ourselves and our ability to pray for and bless others we gain generosity. Generosity in this time of panic looks like buying a pack of diapers for a neighbor, looks like checking in with people in the health care field and supporting them during this crucial time, we can donate to funds for workers who have lost wages.
Now is not a time to fear, but a time to love fearlessly because of the great love shown to us. Easter ultimately is about remembering the great sacrifice of Jesus dying from the cross and rising up again. May this be a time when Christians die to themselves and emerge more loving, more courageous and more generous than ever before.