Easter is in the rearview mirror, but it deposited several guarantees for the road ahead that make our current journey through Covid-19 very purposeful.
By Dennis Rainey
So much about the coronavirus pandemic is absolutely terrible: the illnesses and deaths, the EMT/nurses/doctors/hospitals all overwhelmed, its catastrophic financial impact on so many Americans, their families and their businesses.
It seems insensitive to say that there really is a good side to all this.
But I’ll say it … Covid-19 has revealed our self-sufficient arrogance and reminded us of our mortality. It has shown us that there’s more to life than what we see … that there is a spiritual dimension to life … that we have souls … and that we were made for an eternal relationship, with the Creator of the universe.
Like most of you, “sheltering in place” has been our daily ritual. A week ago on Good Friday, Barbara and I were reaping the benefits of a simpler lifestyle. No travel. No activities. Less choices and thus fewer distractions. For the most part, our heads and hearts were clear.
We were ready for a different kind of Easter.
As Barbara and I sat down to dinner on Good Friday, we determined that we would ponder afresh our Savior’s death, burial and Resurrection.
We engaged in stimulating conversations about why Jesus died on “Silent Saturday” (as Barbara calls it), and about His death-defeating resurrection on Sunday morning.
Experiencing the Easter story
The days that followed have been a spiritually enriching process for us, and I thought I’d share how we experienced the Easter story and some of what we gleaned personally.
With the help of our good old friend, Alexa, we listened to and sang several of our favorite songs and hymns, including:
· “Was it a Morning Like This?” by Sandy Patti
· “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” by Charles Wesley
· “Hallelujan Chorus” by Handel (I want to be in that choir in heaven when we sign it to the One it is about!)
· “Is He Worthy?” by Andrew Peterson … Barbara’s fave, and becoming mine.
And then there was “Untitled Hymn” by Chris Rice. The lyrics reminded us of where a lot of believers are today:
Weak and wounded sinner; lost and left to die;
O, raise your head, for love is passing by;
Come to Jesus, come to Jesus;
Come to Jesus and live.
What happened to Peter?
Then we read a portion of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost in Acts 2:22-24:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed him by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.”
There’s a lot in this sermon, and I’ll mention a couple of things that stood out to us.
First, what in the world happened to Peter? Think of the cowardly lies he blurted out three times just days earlier to a servant girl. His denials of knowing Jesus are legendary: “Woman, I do not know Him.”
Now in this sermon we see a bold and courageous Peter speaking the truth to the religious mafia, the thugs who took Jesus out and murdered Him. Something definitely happened to Peter.
On Friday after Jesus’ death, he and the other disciples went home. We don’t know how they processed what they witnessed, so I’m going to speculate what likely happened.