If the timeline for social distancing remains in place, we have just over two and a half weeks of being essentially home bound. Not that on May 4 everything will open, and crowds will gather, and all will be as it was before. Rather, those in the know suggest that we will still be distanced, people will still be wearing masks and gloves, and we will be highly aware of our surroundings.
The newspapers and broadcasts have talked of the isolation, especially of those who are perishing from the coronavirus. Because of the need to isolate patients, families cannot gather at the bedside of dying loved ones. There is no chance to give that final goodbye, that final “I love you,” that final touch. Streaming video doesn’t replace being in the same room.
In the midst of all this bad news, of the isolation, we still can speak with each other. Several members of our congregation have sent cards and emails to thank us for producing the online devotions and church services. These videos take a couple of people, someone to monitor the recording, an organist, an editor, and the pastor actually leading the service. Those simple words, “thank you,” mean a lot. Many go on to say how they have used the videos, or note specific things they enjoyed.
The encouragement we offer each other is priceless. It makes the isolated days much more enjoyable. We feel connected, even though we are separated.
This Easter season is a time of encouragement. We are reminded again that Jesus’ tomb is empty. That empty tomb says that we are not separated from our loved ones forever, that our isolation will end, that we will be in the presence of all those who have gone before us in the faith. Unlike the day when we are able to again socialize, taking care to sanitize everything we touch, still wearing our masks, the day of the resurrection will give us complete freedom from sin and death. Body and soul reunited, families reunited, there in the presence of God we have life everlasting.
That day is coming. When, we don’t know. Is it soon? We hope so, we believe it may be. But even if the day of the resurrection is far off, we still are aware of our own short time on earth. Therefore we encourage one another, saying today that which we may not be able to say tomorrow. Above all, we hold to the hope of heaven, the gift of the forgiveness of sins given to us for the sake of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.