Roberta Jantzi Egli, Messy Church USA Executive Director
I am exhausted! How about you? Last week my husband had a fever for 48 hours which upped my anxiety to overdrive. I moved out of the bedroom and he was quarantined to that one room for six days (he had to be fever free for 3 days without any medicine). I thought I had adjusted to the physical distancing and the limitations placed on us all with the pandemic but the fear that Lynn may have COVID-19 practically immobilized me for 24 hours.
We are fortunate, we have a home that has enough rooms so that we can separate when needed. Lynn was only sick for 48 hours and did not develop any further symptoms other than a fever and headache. Yes, we were inconvenienced and stressed but it lasted less than a week. However, the virus became much more ‘real’ and my eyes have been open to the extreme suffering that COVID-19 is causing throughout our fragile world.
One of my pastor friends preached several weeks ago that she has never had to lead a church through a pandemic as a pastor. She reminded us that what we all need is grace and compassion. Compassion for our world but also compassion for ourselves. You have never led a Messy Church during a pandemic. You are adjusting, you are learning, you struggle at times. Please take time this Holy Week and next to rely on the grace of God and give yourself some self-compassion.
One of my spiritual practices the past several years is to place a “Listen for Joy” art card produced by Melanie Weidner (www.listenforjoy.com) on my desk each Monday morning. Melanie’s art card decks and her written reflection have spoken to me deeply. I am always amazed that the card i randomly pick is exactly what I need to hear. This week, my art card is a drawing of a beautiful rooster shouting “Yes!” in the midst of heavy black scrawls. in her reflection on this art, Melanie shares that saying yes is the invitation to do “our best even when we feel shaky. Standing our ground in darkness, believing the light will return.”
Saying yes is the invitation to do “our best even when we feel shaky. Standing our ground in darkness, believing the light will return.”Melanie Weidner, Listen for Joy
What a message for a Holy Week in the midst of a global pandemic. We are invited to stand our ground in darkness…the darkness as we pray with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane…the darkness as we pray for those who are separated from their beloved in sickness and death…the darkness of the cross of Good Friday…the darkness of living in the anxiety of the unknown future. It is okay to feel shaky…we all feel shaky! Yet even in our shakiness, even as we stand our ground in darkness, we have the power through Christ to shout YES!
Yes! Jesus has overcome death!
Yes! Christ is risen!
Yes! We are an Easter People!
Yes! As an Easter people, we see examples of people rising throughout the world bringing life through acts of compassion, kindness and love!
My friends, we are not alone, Christ is with us at this time and all times. May we joyfully shout a loud EASTER YES!
Be on the lookout for daily social media posts as we enter into 50 days of Easter celebration. We will be posting some favorite Messy Easter activities for you to share with your families at home. We will be shouting yes for the entire 50 days of Easter!
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! YES! Alleluia!
Prayer for Easter during a Pandemic: God of all time, our hearts are heavy this Holy Week. Many of our foundations have been shaken, we are not able to gather together as we struggle to make sense of the suffering of the world. Yet, even as we shake, we know that the Christ who prayed in darkness while his friends slept, who endured pain and died on the cross, is with us this day. Easter is not postponed this year… we celebrate the Christ is risen. Give us the courage to give a loud Easter YES! to the signs of new life in the midst of our pain. Send your Spirit to breathe peace upon us and guide us into the new day. In the name of Christ we pray. AMEN.