It is an Easter like no other. Many alive today never have and never will experience anything like it. It is an Easter of a life time.
Easter is usually a time of intense Christian and spiritual activity. But not this one. There is serious restriction and in some places outright ban on religious gatherings and activities. On the 6th of April, I woke up with a perplexing question: “Lord, where are you when places of worship are being shut down?” The answer came same day, to my great surprise. My home parish priest, Rev. Father Ohanachom Kelechi Alphosus, sent me an interesting message that evening. It read thus: “its only church buildings that are closed but our voice of prayer remains very functional. The voice of prayer will never be silent.” A simple message. But heavily loaded. It inspired much thought and personal reflection in me. The church buildings may be closed but the body of Christ is very much alive and functional. The lockdown has not removed our obligation to love.
Part of the widely circulated instruction on the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus currently ravaging the world and the cause of massive global lockdown is the need to maintain “social distance”.
Yet we are in an era where social media reigns supreme, seamlessly breaking barriers. Access to the wide world from your very bedroom! Perhaps physical distance would best describe what was intended. The reality is actually social media to the rescue. Working from home and human interaction is effected by means of social media now more than any other time in history. It has suddenly become about the sole means of staying connected. No congregating, no partying, no clubbing, no social visits. Physical contact has simply been reduced to the barest minimum. But contact through social media has rather seen an increase.
This Easter cannot be celebrated like it has always been. No feasting and merriment. No partying. Our stocked food will remain. Community and Church projects have all been halted. Money that would have been lavished in the celebration will be saved.
In the midst of it all, has the essence of the season diminished? It is a matter choice now. First is to reflect and realize the essence of the celebration. It is uncommon love that is the hallmark of the season. It is a celebration of the greatest gift of love ever given. One man gave his very life that mankind might be saved. Christ himself instructed us on how to repay this love. “whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me..”
The times are unusual. And we should respond vide not too common means. The number of poor and needy in our means has increased rather than reduce. We can all show uncommon love this season by doing the unusual. Think about an individual or family you ordinarily will not call. Make a call of love, get their account details and send them money. Any amount. Just imagine the beautiful smile this surprise will produce on their faces and you have celebrated this unusual Easter wonderfully. A bank credit alert brightens even the darkest of faces.
We may keep a physical distance, but we can break the barriers through technology and social media.
May His resurrection bring us the promised abundant life.
It is a beautiful Easter after all.