Easter Hope through Restrictions
I’m feeling some strong déjà vu as we prepare to celebrate a second Easter in the midst of COVID outbreak!
While I’m glad that the lockdown ended on time, it is disappointing that we need to scale back our Easter celebrations again. But if we pause to reflect on this situation, it can help us to really appreciate what Easter is all about.
Because when we look at the great news of Easter against the backdrop of our broken world, God’s love for us in Jesus shines even brighter. Here ae some ways that the current COVID situation can help us to appreciate what Jesus did for us that first Easter weekend:
Easter enabled God’s constant presence with us.
Lockdown is just one of many things that can cause us to feel alone. In fact, sometimes we feel the most alone when there are many people around us!
But Easter reminds us that because Jesus removed the divide between God and us, God is present with all who trust in him at all times, by the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke about this shortly before he went to the cross, saying, that “… the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26). We won’t always feel the presence of the Spirit. But he is always there. Through the Spirit, God hears our every prayer, and by the Spirit he guides us and draws us closer to himself.
Easter showed us God’s immeasurable love for us.
When we are faced with challenges like lockdowns, restrictions, and holiday disappointments, we can place them in perspective with what Jesus endured for us. Last week, we caught a glimpse into the depth of Jesus’ suffering as he went to the cross, drinking the full cup of God’s righteous judgement against the sins of all who would place their faith in Jesus (that’s us!).
But he went through with it because of God’s immeasurable love for us. As we read in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” “All things” here doesn’t mean “anything we want”, but it means something greater- all things which are best for us eternally, and in a renewed and restored, COVID-free world.
Easter points us to our hope for restoration.
COVID is just one of many symptoms of a world damaged by sin. When we look at all the hurt in this world, it can be easy to feel discouraged.
But when Jesus conquered death on Easter Sunday, he redeemed the whole of creation alongside all those people who would ever place their faith in him (Romans 8:20-21). And when he returns, he will restore all of creation, and all of his people. He will re-create a cosmos free from the effects of sin, where God’s people will live eternally with God himself..
I don’t know when the last COVID restriction will end. But when they are done, other things will keep going wrong. There will be other diseases and sicknesses. There will be wars, and injustices both great and small. There will be more hurt, and there will be more death.
But I also know that through it all, God will remain in control. And because Jesus has redeemed us, I know that we have a constant comfort through all challenges which we face now, and a certain hope of the restoration to some.
We will meet together on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday, to remember Christ’s death and celebrate His resurrection. It will be more subdued that we would like, as we wear masks, socially distance, and skip the big ‘Easter on the Lawn’ celebration.
But let us look through these temporary barriers and see how the resurrection of Jesus means that one day we will celebrate together without any restriction. A celebration which will last forever!
Look forward to seeing you (and your mask 😉 ) this weekend!