Today is Good Friday and the Seventh Night of Passover. It is a ritual moment when Christians and Jews are invited to consider the pain and sorrow that abounds in this world, and occasionally in our lives. It is a time to feel the sadness and despondency of having our hopes dashed and our aspirations ruined; a period when we are reminded that the world is often difficult and our lives are not always fair.
This year these realizations feel especially intense. This last week as my family participated in a Passover Seder, we read aloud the account of the plagues as is the custom. You are supposed to say the names of the 12 plagues out loud as you fling droplets of wine on your plate. This year it felt somehow more intense to name the plagues out loud. In fact I wanted to keep going beyond 12 enumerated in the Exodus story; beyond the frogs, locusts and the awful deaths of the firstborn. I wanted to call out COVID-19, and violent insurrections, and mass shootings and racist voting reform laws, and climate change, and, well… add your own. It feels like there are many plagues to choose from this year.
This is how the “arc” of these holidays function : we experience the weight and plagues of the world and then mercifully realize that these difficulties are not the last line of the larger story. There is new life, and there can be new hope, but it takes people advocating together for a fairer, more compassionate world. That’s what the dream of the Promised Land in Judaism and the coming Kingdom of God in Christianity are all about. The world can be a better place and we can be a better people.
Please join us online this Sunday for our Easter service and then in-person for a real, outdoor Fellowship Hour and holiday gathering here at the church. We will host a socially-distant informal reception in the front of our building from 11:45 am to 12:30 pm. Music will be playing as we serve coffee, fruit, an array of baked goods and then hold an Easter egg Hunt for younger kids. Stop by for a few minutes or longer to greet folks and say hello. The weather looks great: calm, sunny and in the 50’s. This Easter feels especially poignant and sweet given this winter of plagues and turmoil. Let the sun shine! Happy Easter and see you around church. Jeff
PS I read a great piece on the main ways that people have dealt with grief and mourning during the Pandemic. I share the link here and am happy to share as a PDF file with anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the NY Times.