The importance of caring for each other through life’s dark days as we wait for the light to come.
Hey, how are you doing? No really, how are you? 2020 has been ... tough, right? We’ve gone from severe drought to unprecedented bushfires, to flooding, to a global pandemic. And that’s just in the first few months.
I’m a not-quite-middle-aged woman, and I can’t remember a chain of events like this happening before in my lifetime. I sat on a friend’s couch today — a suitable distance apart of course — and we named it, shared how the anxiety around the world is right now and how the fear of what might come next is very real. Overwhelming almost.
I think it’s the uncertainty. It’s hard not to be concerned when we don’t know when supermarket shelves might have necessities again, whether schools will close, or people will keep their jobs, or which of our friends or loved ones might fall ill — or worse. The not knowing can almost be paralysing.
2020 has hit us hard. So much so that my confession is I forgot about Easter. I mean, my whole gig is to be a Jesus-following person, I’m a Salvo officer (pastor), and it’s kind of my job to remember things like Easter, you know. But life was happening and, amidst everything that’s been going on in Australia and the world lately, I missed the start of Lent and had no idea what date Easter fell on this year.
Having made that little confession, I’m really hoping my boss doesn’t read this, because Easter is a sacred time in the Church. It quite possibly shouldn’t be someone’s Facebook post about struggling with giving up sugar for Lent, and another church’s post about cancelled Easter services that jogged my memory. Normally I’m pretty on top of things like this, but these aren’t normal times and Easter got crowded out by disastrous events and anxiety. And the unknown.
But over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking — and just hear me out for a minute — what if this is our Friday moment? If you’re unfamiliar with the Easter story, you can find the details in a nutshell in the Bible, in the book of Luke, chapter 23. It was on Friday that Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. And it was on Friday that the whole world fell apart for those who loved and followed him. Their grief, their fear, their anxiety over what might come next was very real. Overwhelming almost. Maybe that feels a little familiar to you right now.
Jesus’ followers didn’t have Luke chapter 24 to read, which talks about the Sunday when the hope of Jesus’ return to life would be made even more real than the pain and anxiety they’d felt on Friday. On Friday, in the midst of disaster, it was hard to hope for Sunday. It’s Friday as I write this, and in the middle of our dark Fridays I honestly don’t know how far off our Sunday will be, the one in which we get to celebrate a return to life and reconnection and health. But — you know what? — even in the middle of all that’s going on, I’m choosing to hold on to the hope that Sunday is coming, and friends, it’s going to be so very good.
And while we wait for Sunday let’s agree to check in on each other, see how we’re all doing, and maybe share a loo roll or two.