It seems intentional that Easter takes place in the springtime; both celebrate rebirth and growth.
It’s a time when the birds return to the Northern hemisphere, plants begin to pop out of the ground and baby animals start to magically appear. It is an interesting paradox that in the midst of this so many people are trapped within their homes, said Pastor Ann Murphy of Saint Paul Lutheran Church.
“Easter reminds us where our hope comes from that we live in a fallen world with fallen people,” Murphy said. “We make mistakes, but Christ is our hope in the resurrection.”
Unfortunately, this Easter may be a non-event for many people. The city of George cancelled its annual Easter egg hunt, said Debby Kooy, George Community Hall event director. But some people are trying to think creatively about how to celebrate. Athena M. Vetterick of Royal City said her neighborhood came up with the idea of putting paper Easter eggs in windows or on lawns.
Families could then drive down the neighborhood and see how many Easter eggs they could find, Vetterick said. She enlisted her two children Harmony Vetterick, 6 years old, and Analeigh Vetterick, 18 months old, to help make the Easter eggs.
In Royal City someone counted 150 Easter eggs, she said.
It is difficult for churches to do anything special for Easter while not gathering, said Shaun McNay, a Free Methodist Church pastor. The church has been learning how to hold virtual services on YouTube and Facebook and that has been enough of a challenge.
“I think that less is more, especially when the learning curve is so steep,” McNay said. “So trying to add things would make that more difficult.”
Pastor Murphy also said they wouldn’t attempt to add much during their Easter service.
At St. Pius X Catholic Church the blessing of the palms will still occur, but the palms will not be distributed until it is safe to do so, Friar Mario A. Salazar said.
One unique thing the Methodist Church will do is virtual communion on Palm Sunday, McNay said. People will provide their own juice and bread and he will bless it over the computer. It doesn’t have to be grape juice, he said.
It’s challenging, though, being a pastor in these times, he said. The avenues available for him to communicate with his congregation are limited, and he feels somewhat at a loss for what to say.
“I think also what does somebody say in these days that is meaningful and helpful rather than just trite or cliche?” he asked. “These days, the word unprecedented is used I think in every press release. It is way overused in the last month. But they’re days like I’ve never experienced, and so (a person is left) wondering what to say and what to offer that is helpful and meaningful in these days of uncertainty.”
For Pastor McNay, Easter symbolizes the resurrection of Christ and the promise of life after death, he said. People right now are thinking a lot about death due to COVID-19, which puts the afterlife in sharp focus.
“I think the hope of life after this life resonates that this life is not all there is,” McNay said. “It can be pretty dark and bleak if you think it is all over after this.”
But for Pastor Murphy, Easter also symbolizes hope and love, she said. People should reflect on the hope that society will eventually overcome these dark times.
“So we always have that hope and we can cling to that hope,” Murphy said. “And Easter is that time that really reminds us of God’s love and what God did for us.”