As I sit before my computer on this day, April 4, 2020, tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the beginning of what Christians celebrate as Holy Week. But since I wrote my March 2020 Webstable Soup, our world has been turned upside down with the coronavirus. Nothing is the same. Oh, I take that back. “The Ten Commandments,” with Charlton Heston, is showing on Channel 2 as it does at this time of year every year.
I have wondered about Noah! How did he and his family survive in such close quarters for over a year? (Genesis 8).
But a more accurate consideration is the Passover, which was instituted for the Israelites to commemorate the passing of the death angel and salvation to those who had sprinkled blood on their door posts.
The name is a reference to Exodus 12:13, in which God inflicts 10 plagues upon the Egyptians after the Pharaoh refuses to free the Israelites. During the final plague, the killing of the firstborn sons, God “passed over,” or spared, the houses of the Israelites.
This year, the eight days of Passover begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8, and ordinarily it would be a time of celebration and festivities when Jewish people around the world would gather at a table to commemorate Passover, one of the most important and widely observed Jewish holidays of the year. The festival typically brings friends, relatives and even strangers together for a celebration of freedom highlighted by a Seder dinner.
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week. It is the day that we remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a colt into the town of Jerusalem a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment.
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:13-14).
On Sunday, April 12, 2020, Easter will come and go in a very different fashion from previous years. Church buildings are closed; no cars in the parking lots; no colorful eggs on the lawn for the children to hunt; no new Easter outfits as is the custom for some. Many people are nervous and afraid; many are jobless now and in dire need of assistance. However, many are going out of their way to help and sustain those who are overwhelmed with work, illness, and deaths from this virus. Let’s be sure to show our appreciation to these self-less helpers.
There are many ways to help. If you want to help, just ask someone who is already helping.
Yes, this Easter is different. We still celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, just in a different manner. We still realize His gift of salvation, but our minds are together instead of our physical selves.
Jews and Christians alike are trying to learn and adapt to the wonder of technology that allows us to gather virtually to connect with one another. Some are resistant, some are hesitant; but many welcome the opportunity to gather in ANY way that connects us to each other!
I am thankful to be a member of a church who is making those provisions for our members. If you don’t have a church, I would love to share the North Atlanta Church of Christ with you. Go to nacofc.org or lovefirst.org. Fellowship begins at 9:30 am tomorrow and Easter Sunday; worship at 10 am. We will sing and praise the Lord. We will pray and have communion with one another. We will hear a dynamic lesson from God’s word, we will be able to give support to meet the needs of our church and our community; and we will begin a new week with a fresh perspective.
Remember…it would be tragic to die from COVID-19, but it would be worse to die without having a relationship with Jesus Christ!
God bless you, God bless us all, and God bless America!