This is a strange Easter. I will spend it in Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where my son Nate will have surgery on Good Friday. What in other years would be a personal experience of dislocation from normal Holy Week and Easter worship has turned into a world-wide experience due to COVID-19. None of us are going to experience Easter in the normal way.
We grieve all that there will not be: baptisms, vigils, shouts of “Alleluia,” packed churches, lilies, Easter egg hunts, everyone dressed in their Sunday best, Paschal Candles, brunches, bread and wine offered to all in remembrance and promise.
And yet: Jesus is risen. We cannot stop him. COVID-19 cannot stop him. Death itself has lost its hold on him. As so many in the nation and around the world have died from this pandemic, the promise of eternal life gives us some comfort in our grief.
I may not get to worship with you all on Easter Sunday, but I will be humming and singing along with an ancient text by St. John of Damascus wherever I am:
“Neither might the gates of death,
nor the tomb’s dark portal,
nor the watchers, nor the seal
hold thee as a mortal:
but today amidst thine own
thou didst stand, bestowing
thine own peace, which evermore
passeth human knowing.” –Hymnal 1982, #199
May God’s peace, which passes all understanding, be with you this Easter and always.
Editor’s note: Bishop Reddall shared the news on her Facebook profile that the surgeons considered Nathan’s surgery a complete success and believe he’s maintained all his motor function. She said, “Thank you for all your prayers and love.”