No Sanctuary for Easter

This was the third year Tom and I did not worship in a sanctuary on Easter.  This statistic is especially remarkable because of all the Easter services I attended for so many years.  During my 21 years at Wedgewood we usually had three services every Easter Sunday.  If you add in Holy Week services, I would often lead seven worship services in the sanctuary, not even counting Palm Sunday.  Since I retired, I usually attend a service on Good Friday and one on Easter and that is it.  Most years we have been working on Easter, so we go to an early service and then to work.

Worshipping in a sanctuary changed in 2020 when the Covid-19 epidemic hit.  The first year we were still working at Fort Frederica, even though the park was closed.  I led a worship service down by the Fort and all the volunteers attended.  It was a small gathering and the service wasn’t long, but we all felt that we had worshipped.  In 2021 we attended outside worship in our car at Lewis Center United Methodist.  It rained like crazy but we still worshipped.

This year we were on the road for Easter.  We had spent a week in Knoxville exploring some national park sites, and were heading back to Ohio.  Instead of finding a packed church and attending worship in the sanctuary, we listened to an Easter worship service on the radio.  It wasn’t the same as singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” with hundreds of other people in a sanctuary, but we worshipped.

In the last couple of years, churches have been taking a new look at what it means to worship.  Churches have experimented with online worship, held Zoom Bible Studies, and conducted drive-in worship.  All of those mean a lot more work for the clergy, learning new technologies and stepping out of comfort zones, but worship continues.  It may not look the same, and there are some people who may never return to a sanctuary, but it is still worship.

Tom and I prefer to worship in a sanctuary filled with people we know.  But the object of our worship is always Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Lord.  We can worship him no matter where we are or what we are doing.  And, as long as we keep him first in our lives, he is glorified by our worship.

May you have a holy and blessed Easter, no matter where you celebrate it.  May the risen Christ appear to you on whatever road you travel and grant you peace and joy.

The Easter Cross at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Shelby, North Carolina