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Easter at Home

Can you have Easter without church?

The short answer is no. No you cannot.

Some of you might be saying, “You’re wrong because we had Easter without church this year!”, or “We didn’t go to church, but we still celebrated Christ’s resurrection!” All of that may be true, but you still didn’t have Easter without “church”. What do I mean? Let me explain.

                  COVID-19
Here comes Peter Cottontail.

2020 marks the first year of my life that I spent Easter morning at home, rather than at church. Sure, the Easter Bunny came, but the day just wasn’t the same without making that trip to church and having lunch with a big family.

Having grown up in a Christian home, going to church on Easter Sunday was an absolute. Even when I was a young, rebellious teenager that would’ve rather stayed at home, that wasn’t an option on Easter. Where I grew up (in the south), it was true that even the people who didn’t attend church for the entirety of the year, would be in those pughs come Easter morning.

After church, there would always be a huge family gathering, with relatives from other cities and states visiting for the holiday. There would be a table full of all different foods, from meats and vegetables to cakes and pies, all to gather around and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A different person would recite the blessing each year, thanking God — not only for the food and family, but for sending Jesus to die for our sins.

This was the tradition — for twenty-nine years, and it’s what I became accustomed to. But then came 2020 — a year like no other. Thanks to a worldwide pandemic, we were all forced to stay at home in isolation, rather than have our usual get-together.

When this happened, people panicked, wondering how there could possibly be Easter without church, and how they could miss a year of their beloved traditions. And who can blame them? This was a first for all of us.

But, thanks to technology, we didn’t have to be as far away from our fellow church members as we thought. With things like live video streaming, and various forms of video chatting, we were able to gather together in a virtual “church service” without even leaving our homes. Through video chatting apps, some of us were even able to have a virtual “family gathering” on our phones/tablets and computers.

These technological advances helped us to feel less alone, but for many of us, something about staying at home just wasn’t right. May felt that church had been “cancelled”, or that church was “not allowed” due to the pandemic. However, while gathering of ten or more inside a building was a bad idea, the gathering of “the church” couldn’t — and will never be impossible.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:20-22 KJV

In the Bible, “the church” always refers to people, rather than a place. The church is a group of believers that carry out the gospel through their lives. The church functions best when people take Jesus’ message out of the church building and serve those they come in contact with.

Typically, when we think of going to church, we picture a bunch of people gathering inside a building. However, this is not how Jesus or any of his followers thought of it. For example, Paul greeted the church that met in the house of Priscilla and Aquila in Rome.

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.” Romans 16:3-5 KJV

In these verses, Paul talks about the church as people who are willing to do whatever it takes to reach out and help their neighbors. As a church, we have a responsibilit to help and serve those who need it. If we want to see Jesus change lives, we need to care for those inside the church and those outside. Sometimes, we see people in need and wait for someone else to take responsibility. But this is not how the church works, at least not in the vision Jesus had for it.

“If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” 1 Timothy 5:16-18 KJV

Each of us has been given certain talents, abilities, and skills with which we can serve the Lord. For example, in Tomothy’s church the women had a ministry specifically for widows. The elders of the church took care of business affairs while those left were committed to preaching and teaching the gospel.

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17 KJV

This is a tricky one. When our government leaders advised us that it was safer to stay home, rather than go to church, many were quite upset — and understandably so. Many people thought that the government was trying to stop us from worshipping, or that they were attacking churches. While only God knows the true intentions of those in power, he still wants us to obey them — within reason, of course. Am I saying that if your leaders tell you not to worship, that you should do as they say? Absolutely not. However, in this case, no one was telling Christians not to worship; they just told us not to gather inside a building with more than ten people.

Thanks to the advances in our modern technology, “the church” was still able to get together and worship. So, even if you were unable to leave your house on Easter morning, as long as you celebrated Christ’s resurrection — with others or by yourself, you had “church”.

Prove it

So there you have it. The Easter holiday is about so much more than just gathering inside a building.

But…

Don’t just take my word for it!

I hope this post has blessed you in one way or another. However, I encourage you to open your Bible and look these things up for yourself. Spending time in the Word of God is always beneficial!

Copyright © 2020 J. Edwards Holt. All rights reserved.

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