Easter 2020by Reverend Dan on April 11, 2020
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”
“He is risen!”
Thanks to Lee Eclov, a retired pastor, for much of the content of this devotional.
Who could’ve imagined last year at Easter that on Easter 2020 virtually every church in America and around the world would be closed and silent? How, in heaven’s name, can Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection when we cannot sing together?
This year we will come to Easter Sunday as reluctant soloists, with only our own voices, without the band or choir, guitar or piano or organ. This year we must sing by faith, not only our faith in Christ but our faith that our single voices will be joined with countless others “before the throne of God above”. We will pray that our solitary alleluias will echo not only in our empty rooms but will be heard by our risen Christ in harmony with the “tongues of men and angels” in the vast throne room of the Triune God.
We will sing this year, sobered by thoughts of mortality and by our newfound remembrance of the frailty of life. The ashen specter of death has come close to home and continues to get closer. People we know or know of are dying. This year the songs of their families will be laments of grief, sung in heartsick minor keys, for they are now the lyrics of our souls and times. Perhaps this year our hearts will be more in tune with Friday’s grief.
August Wilson, the great American playwright, wrote a play called Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Set in Pittsburgh in 1911, it is about the children of slaves trying to forge their new identities in the Steel City. The main character is a kind of lost soul named Loomis, a man running away. Late in the play a wise old man named Bynum figures out what Loomis’ problem is. “Now, I can look at you, Mr. Loomis, and see you a man who done forgot his song. Forgot how to sing it. A fellow forget that and he forget who he is. Forget how he’s supposed to mark down life.”
We need resurrection songs more than ever this year, not merely as tuneful signals of spring, but because fear and death are hard upon us, tempting us to forget who we are. We need songs of everlasting life and of our immortality in Christ. Singing is one way—one profoundly Christian way—that the Light of life shines from us. It isn’t that the world around us will hear us singing because we are sheltered at home. But the songs of resurrection will remind us that each Easter, spring blooms with new life, just as Christ did when He was raised from the grave.
I close with my favorite verse – not hymn, but verse in a hymn – that is the theological statement of our faith. It is from the John Wesley hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” For indeed, He has risen!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Hallelujah.
Fought the fight the battle won, Hallelujah.
Death in vain forbids His rise, Hallelujah.
Christ has opened paradise, Hallelujah.
“Father, All glory, honor and praise be unto You on this, the most Holy of Days. We give thanks unto You! All this we pray in the name of the crucified and risen Lord, Jesus the Christ, AMEN.”