BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER
I’ve been trying to write a post about Lent for the past month now. Because I love Lent. I love setting aside 40 days to reflect upon the sacrifice that God made out of love, symbolized by giving up something sacrificial. I was going to give up caffeine for Lent. Every time I was exhausted or run down, situations where I normally grab a cup of coffee or a mug of tea, to be reminders for me about what God did for me. To remind me when it gets hard that what Jesus gave up was so much harder. Just because He loves me.
But COVID-19 erupted just a few weeks into Lent and I felt like I became unmoored. As my body and brain went into survival mode, I got right back onto that coffee train because it was one little thing that made my life feel a little bit normal and I needed that desperately.
And now Easter is next weekend, but it doesn’t feel like Easter does it? I don’t feel filled with the hope of resurrection. This Lenten season, I have left my office and started working from home. I don’t always know if I will find the food I need at the grocery story and everywhere I go, I see people wearing masks. We've buried my grandmother and I wasn’t able to hug my family at the funeral. It’s hard to feel like rejoicing right now, yeah?
Any normal year, I spend this week, the week leading to Easter, ruminating on the victory of Christ over death, a personal, spiritual celebration that culminates on Easter Sunday, when I get to gather with my church family in a service so filled of joy and hope that I feel made new after every long, hard winter.
But this year, I find myself thinking less about the resurrection and more about the disciples and those three days that Jesus was in the grave. How wracked must they have been? Mark says that the disciples were “grieving and weeping” (Mark 16:10). John writes that the disciples were “meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders” on the day that Jesus appeared to them after the resurrection (John 20:19).
The disciples were staying safe inside their homes and they were grieving and weeping. They were experiencing something that they thought would never see in their lifetimes - the arrival of the Messiah. They didn’t know what was going to come next. Was Jesus dead-dead? Did this mean He wasn’t the Messiah? Were they going to be killed next? What would their future look like, now that their Teacher was gone?
I see so much of our current circumstances reflected in the disciples in those days before the resurrection. None of us ever believed we would EVER experience a global pandemic on this scale, that everything would shut down, that the world would start to barely resemble itself. We are at home, grieving and weeping the losses and changes to everything we know. We do not know what the future is going to look like. Just like the disciples, we know that Jesus is Messiah, Redeemer, Emmanuel, but we do not know what tomorrow, or next week, or next month will look like.
And perhaps this is the true spirit of Lent: this limbic, unknown space. We grieve and we wander and we look for hope. I don’t know how to do more than that right now. I trust that all of this will end someday, but I do not know what it will look like or when it will happen.
Like the disciples, I sit in my home and weep and await resurrection.