Christ Covenant Update #3: Celebrating Easter When We're Apart
I have the privilege to speak to you on behalf of the elders today with this third update as we wait for the time we can worship in each other’s presence again. Ray spoke two weeks ago about giving while we’re apart and helping meet the needs of some in our body, and Keith spoke last week about following Christ in the midst of this pandemic. As I come to you, we’re now in Easter week, so I want to talk about what it might look like for us to celebrate Easter when we can’t be physically together.
First, let’s thank God for the means he has provided for us to stay connected and fed during this time. Many times and in many places, God’s people have been prevented from gathering. But there has never been the ability to remain connected in the ways we can now, instantly seeing and sharing with each other in order to maintain fellowship while we’re apart.
So let’s continue to make use of those gifts. 1) Join with the church in hearing the weekly sermons and singing online. Our plans this week include online services for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, as well as Easter Sunday. 2) Also, Nik has posted on our website a blog post titled Preparing for Easter 2020: A Guide for Holy Week, which contains a video for each day of this week. If you haven’t seen any of these, they are still available. 3) Connect with other brothers and sisters by phone or video. 4) Gather as a care group over a web conference. 5) Some have even shared meals online. Take advantage of these things as we celebrate Easter this week.
But the fact remains that this Easter will be very different. How should we think about it? How should we approach it when we can’t gather to celebrate the most significant event in history, the means of our salvation, and what drew us together in the first place? The church was established for God’s people to gather and worship and be equipped. So how do we worship when we can’t gather? I’ll propose a few things:
First, let’s recognize that God is no less glorified, and our worship is no less significant, as we worship him at home this Easter, according to His good and sovereign plans.
Second, let’s use this opportunity to focus anew on the truths we are celebrating. This Easter may involve fewer distractions – you’re probably not preparing for travel or large gatherings. If this Easter means that some things are removed, preserve time and attention and space to reflect more on Christ. Even a simple statement of the gospel can fuel our worship – consider 1 Corinthians 15:1-5,
 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Third, let’s long for and pray for our return to worshiping together. Pray for the health and wellbeing of those in our body and the health and wellbeing of others and for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We serve a wise, loving, and powerful God. He graciously called us to himself; through Christ’s sacrifice, He has made us his sons and daughters; and He has led us to this time. Knowing that He has given us Christ, we know we can trust him to care for us in all things, even at this time. Remember Romans 8:32ff,
 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? …  … Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  … For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Praise God for the love He has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. As we often say at Easter, “He is risen! He is risen indeed.”