Archive for #raiseahallelujah

Note: Although this was written on and for April 11, 2020, the day between Good Friday/Passover and Easter, I believe it is also very applicable to this “in between time” of What Was (before COVID-19) and What Will Be once we get through this pandemic.

This week is Holy Week in my spiritual tradition, the week in which we walk through the last days of the life of Jesus, especially his death on a cross. And tomorrow—the Resurrection!

Yesterday was also Passover, the remembrance among the Jewish people of the liberation from slavery the Lord God brought through Moses.

Normally, Holy Week means several church services: Maundy Thursday, with a focus on Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, when we also wash each other’s feet and celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Then, different services for Good Friday. And today, our church usually holds an Easter Vigil, where through song, dance, drama and music we walk through the entire Redemption history. It will culminate in a joyous celebration tomorrow, with ringing of bells as we make a “joyous, holy noise” and children and adults alike (pastor as well) dance around the sanctuary.

This year, of course, Holy Week is completely different.

This year, we huddle around computer or phone to follow along with the Livestream worship services from our homes, isolated from the congregation. (Join us, if you don’t have a great church!)

This year, only my husband and I washed each other’s feet on Maundy Thursday.

But you know what? There was something ineffably sweet about that foot-washing between Gene and me in the intimacy of our own home, with the strains of “Spiegel Im Spiegel” coming through the phone.

And I was reminded of some words that came to me awhile back, which I wrote about in the context of grief back then.

“Just because things are different, doesn’t mean they

still can’t be good.”

We are all in a collective grief. Nothing is the same. Almost overnight, our whole way of life has been stripped away.

So many losses. For some, tragically, it’s actual loss of life. For most of us, it’s a loss of the way of life that we once knew.

And why?

All because of an unseen foe—a novel virus we don’t understand yet—that has the power to induce death and destruction of life as we knew it.

And yet . . . I believe that there is another Unseen Force that has the power to overcome this foe.

Actually, it’s not a force, it’s a Person.

This is what we remembered in the holy day that just passed. Passover: protection from the angel of death via faith and the blood of a lamb, and the liberation from slavery. It took the mighty hand of God, overcoming the forces of nature and the power of man, but it happened. The Jewish people were set free from their bondage in Egypt, and God led them through the wilderness eventually, to the Promised Land. (It would have been sooner if they had believed he could do it. Hmmmm…..)

And Good Friday, that day when Jesus, the Son of God who had taken on our flesh, also took on our sin (read: that force that pulls us down no matter how hard we try to be good) and suffered the effects of it fully in our place. The day he spilled his blood, and in that act, made it possible that we can be protected from true and final death–separation from God.

That is where we are, today, April 11, the day between Good Friday and Easter. That is where we are, today, April 11, huddled in our homes like the Israelites of old while the angel of death passed over, killing all the firstborn except in homes where the blood of a lamb was smeared on the doorposts.

Today, we grieve like Jesus’ disciples, perhaps feeling, like them, that all is lost.

Today, Jesus’ body was in the tomb, but where was his spirit? I believe it was facing down evil, as I saw in my vision. (If you haven’t seen my video of “King Jesus Faces Down Evil,” you can view it here.)

But tomorrow—tomorrow we will celebrate Easter. Easter, which is not about bunnies and colored eggs and new clothes. These things seem so trivial now, don’t they?

The true meaning of Easter–the Resurrection of Jesus–has not changed. Easter is about New Life springing from death. It is about death and all its effects being conquered.

Have you ever stopped to think what a mind bender it would have been to Jesus’ followers to have him appear to them alive? THAT is what turned the world upside down. To have a person actually rise from the dead was unheard of. It ushered in a whole new paradigm, a whole new way of thinking and living and understanding. There really is a God who cared enough about human beings to become one of us, to live our lives from the inside, to die the death we were meant to die, and then to rise from the dead, ever living to offer a whole new life in which the unseen world is more real than the seen.

We have been faced with the unseen foe, and it is very real. Let’s remember the unseen Victor who first tasted death for us, then conquered death and evil.

Tomorrow, let’s remember that the Unseen Victor is truly alive. He lives now in the hearts of everyone who receives him. And what he does now, is to make all things new (Revelation 21:5).

He is Lord of everything in heaven and earth, and that means coronavirus as well. In his Word, he promises that he will make all things work out for good for those who love him, who personally call him Lord (Romans 8:28). He promises that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation including coronavirus!], will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

THIS is the promise of Easter. This promise does not change. Hope is still alive, because the Source of all hope is alive.

And just because Easter will not be the same this year as it was in years past, doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Doesn’t mean it can’t be a time of rebirth into a new life for us. Doesn’t mean we can’t have joy.

Perhaps there can be more joy, because it’s based on what does not change, even as everything else has changed.

There is a movement afoot to go outside and “raise a Hallelujah” at noontime on Easter, wherever you are, by ringing bells, banging on pots and pans, and shouting, “He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!” for one minute.

You will see me outside “raising my Hallelujah.” I will not have lost my mind. Only my clinging to “the way things were” to be embraced by this Love and to embrace whatever Love will bring.

I know it will be good, in one way or another.

 

 

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