Pastoral Letter Re: Easter
March 29, 2020
Dear brothers, sisters, and siblings in Christ,
Grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. It is my hope and prayer that all of you are doing well. Many of us have been participating in our online worship services, as we try to find ways to remain grounded in God’s Word and connected to each other in this extraordinary time. Many folks who are not regular attenders of our congregations have also been participating in these services – it is amazing how the Spirit finds ways to move and breathe life into our communities, even in such confusing times!
As many of you know, our governments and public health officials are calling for more aggressive social distancing measures, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are committed to abiding by these measures as long as they are recommended. This has meant that many people have experienced a sense of disappointment and loss as events both joyful and sad – graduations, weddings, funerals, birthday parties – have been postponed, cancelled, or somehow celebrated online.
As Christians, we are approaching one of our most important and cherished times in the church year – Holy Week and Easter. And yet, due to the current epidemic situation, we will not be able to celebrate these festivals in the way that we would have hoped. We will not be able to gather together in person for worship for Holy Week services or Easter. And I know that many families will miss being able to gather together for special families meals and celebrations.
However, we will continue to worship, and to gather around God’s Word, in our families and at home, using the resources that are available to us. We will be posting worship services for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, as well as a video reflection for Maundy Thursday. We’ll also be delivering mail-outs to our members who do not have access to the internet. I hope that these services will be meaningful for you and your family during this holy time of year.
I would also encourage you to find some quiet time during Holy Week for contemplation and prayer. Take time to acknowledge the feelings of loss. Take time to dwell in the mystery of Christ’s passion. And most of all, take time to remember God’s promise of resurrection – God’s promise to bring new life out of death.
As we move forward together, separated physically but united in spirit, community, and prayer, let us remember Christ’s commandment (which we read on Maundy Thursday):
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
In Christ’s peace,