Easter is not cancelled. But it will be different. Early Easter morning there will not be folding chairs set up on church lawns for a wake-up message, prayer, and hymn or two. Congregations will not gather in sanctuaries decked with lilies and sing the majestic “Hallelujah Chorus.” Extended family reunions will not be celebrated around tables filled with seasonal treats. And children will almost certainly not be rounding up plastic Easter eggs from wherever they are hidden.
No doubt some people will truly miss all of these traditional Easter activities. The twice a year church attenders now will have only one service to make in 2020 – Christmas Eve. And the sun will very likely rise again on the Monday after Easter as it has for nearly 2,000 years. As novelist Kurt Vonnegut loved to say, “So it goes.”
So, will there be an Easter in 2020? The simple, honest answer is, Yes. It will not be Easter as usual, if we mean by that an Easter with all of our traditions being celebrated. In this time of pandemic, that would not be wise. But, if we mean the celebration of what actually matters about Easter, then “Yes” is the right and faithful affirmation.
Christians around the world will worship – some in their homes, others online, a few on a walk through their neighborhood. And as they do, they will repeat the one core statement of Easter faith that most matters, “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.” And, in that moment, Easter 2020 – this first digital Easter – will happen all over again.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Gary S. Eller
President, Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation