On the original “Easter Sunday,” the disciples of Jesus gathered in homes — isolated from each other and from the general public. They were afraid of local authorities on the rampage to snuff out the fledgling movement of faith. They may have eaten some breakfast together. Probably not orange scones, bacon, and coffee. But no matter what they were eating, I’d guess they felt pretty queasy as they ate, ears and eyes attentive to any indication that the murderous mobs might be coming for them.
On Easter Sunday 2020, we also limited ourselves to our homes — isolated from each other and the general public. We’re afraid of a virus sweeping the world, bringing sickness and death to hundreds of thousands.
But we are eating pretty well these days. We’re eating a lot. And especially on Easter Sunday, we ate a lot of delicious food. Our family’s sunrise hike was followed by a fabulous breakfast. And our family Easter Egg Hunt (to collect sugary treats) was followed by a fabulous lunch. And our fabulous lunch was followed by dessert out in our driveway, greeting our neighbors.
Our neighbor Mark made the suggestion for a neighborhood celebration of Easter, while staying at least six feet apart from each other. And even though the weather was a bit cool and overcast, it really did turn out to be a lovely time catching up with those around us.
I know some of my neighbors pretty well, but others are less familiar. Even with the less familiar ones, though, it was great to connect. We talked about our families, our experiences of the quarantine, our favorite foods, and even our religious traditions.
I decided to try some “porch” portraiture, and I was really delighted with the result. These pictures feel like our neighborhood. We can’t be too close to each other at the moment, but that actually adds some fresh perspective.
I really wasn’t sure how the neighborhood gathering would go. I thought it might be cold and awkward. But it ended up being one of my favorite parts of this extraordinary Easter celebration.
Unfortunately, I had to go back inside after about 45 minutes with the neighbors because we scheduled an H2O Kent Easter Video Reunion online. This was also a very uncertain element of our Easter plans, but it actually felt really fun — if perhaps a bit chaotic — to see so many friends’ faces again after a month of separation. We had about 70 people on the call, which is still only about a third of our congregation, but it felt encouraging to have some semblance of gathering on Easter Sunday.
My Easter Sunday finished with another video conference in which we took Communion together. It was my first time doing Communion by video conference, but it felt like a fitting conclusion to our day of remembering Jesus. Nothing is normal in the COVID-19 quarantine… But still, we walk by faith in the remembrance of what Jesus did for us.