Submitted by Pastor David Wynn, Tarkio Christian Church
This year, Easter Sunday fell during the COVID-19 pandemic. A time when we are secluded in our homes and told to wrap our faces in cloth if we dare to go out for groceries or supplies. I walked into the grocery store in Rock Port and I saw customers and clerks wandering quietly through the aisles with gloved hands and masked faces. We are in hiding from what our doctors and the government call the invisible beast.
COVID-19 is a “breath-taking” virus. It steals the breath from people’s bodies in a particularly terrifying way. It strikes suddenly leaving us frightened and breathless. With no cure in sight, the only thing we can do is hide away, covering our noses and faces with cloth, hoping to keep the aggressive beast away from our lungs.
COVID-19 is a death threat that has already made good on many lives. I almost died three years ago when a pulmonary embolism suddenly blocked the passage of blood from my heart to my lungs. I was surrounded by air and could not breathe it in. I cannot describe the panic that suffocating brings. While my wife was dialing 911, I decided that it would be better to get into heaven by falling on an old cast iron tub in an upstairs bathroom, hopefully rendering myself unconscious. But, the way I figured it, the Lord decided He still wanted me around for a while.
I missed the tub entirely and fell into an 8” wide space between the toilet and the wall. The pressure on my heart in that tight confinement caused the blood clot to burst and enter my lungs, enabling me to breathe. Probably seconds away from death, I survived. A miracle, the ER doctor called it.
Those that this brutal virus attacks makes them feel that they are suffocating, perhaps the way Jesus must have felt, locked up in a dark tomb for an impossibly long duration, as though the darkness of “Good Friday” might go on forever with little hope in sight. He knew that resurrection was imminent, waiting for dawn to come on that magnificent morning when the stone was rolled away, and the sun streamed through, when an “angel of the Lord” removed the funeral cloth from Jesus’ face, and the Holy Spirit breathed again the holy breath of life into His stricken body and made it rise from the valley of the shadow of death. Three days of darkness. Then, new and restored life. Not the same life, but a restored, resurrected life.
All around us, we see signs of spring, signs of awakening, signs of hope, signs of resurrection. We know life as we know it may be dampened down for now, covered in what feels like “funeral clothing.” And yet, spring blooms eternal. All around us birds sing, the sun bursts out from the winter clouds, trees bud, flowers unfurl, the ground thaws, and God unwraps an entirely new landscape of color and life.
But for now, we wait. Wait, knowing that God has not given up on us yet, for we know that no matter what, that beast has no power over us. God’s resurrection breath will raise us up. A new day will dawn, soon. Very soon.
Watch and wait, people of God. Be expectant. Dawn is coming. And when it comes, your face cloths will be removed, and you will breathe again. The spring you see around you will manifest in all kinds of ways, and life will start again. You’ll again feel the bustle of people and cars, know the joy of relationships and friends. You’ll again eat together, sing together, worship together, and love together.
In a word: Resurrection.
It will all be new. Never again will life be quite the same. For our experiences of death and darkness change us. We emerge not the same but renewed and restored. We become wiser and more understanding about the world and God’s amazing miracles. We become more joyful about life, and more appreciative of everything in it. We become Resurrection People.
Celebrate the Lord who gives Life and restores Life, now and always. Amen.