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  • AME Zion


“1In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”--Matthew 28:1-11 So here we are, on a beautiful Easter day, after one of the most difficult Lenten seasons of our collective lifetimes. For many, this year’s observance began like most—lighthearted promises to abstain from frivolity—by avoiding certain foods (i.e. “No meat or chocolate for me, I’m on Lent”; ‘I’m giving up sugar”)—and if really ambitious, social media…After 40 days, we expect to feel much better about ourselves (as well as a few pounds lighter). The thing is, those are (for the most part), selfish goals. They have little to do with recognizing Christ’s sacrifice—or the miracle of his resurrection. Penance, abstinence, and fasting, all required of our Lenten observance, are meant to be difficult—as was Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Looking back, on Ash Wednesday, we couldn’t imagine the world we live in now: The disruption of “normal” life—work, school, recreation, social interaction (religious and secular)—all interrupted by a microscopic entity, 125 nano-meters in size. This tiny virus, COVID-19, has created large-scale chaos; upending our economy, disrupting the way we live and how we interact. Many sat here, on this beautiful Easter, looking out of our window at a day whose placidity belies the turmoil in which we’ve been thrust. Understandably, when so many are suffering, it’s difficult to celebrate (even during Easter). However, when we look back at what God has brought us through, this is no exception. We are, by definition, survivors. We’ve survived wars, slavery, and disease. After each setback, we re-group and come back, stronger. We derive hope from each other, our institutions go on and reflect us. The church is no different, we have survived. We have founded the very institutions (universities) which have educated millions of people—doctors and medical professionals, teachers and students, scientists, and computer programmers (enabling us to worship regardless of spatial constraints)…We are supported by those who are essential workers, and public servants, and those who care for the sick (even as they struggle with getting care)…And support those who are unable to “shelter in place”. As a church family, this Lent has been difficult, however (even with the awful toll that this virus has exacted) it’s been a blessing. We have self-isolated and rediscovered what “community” means, what “family” means, what “church” means—none of which comes from a building. We are the community. We are the family—and the church is the congregation for which the building was built. In order to "flatten the curve", we have sacrificed our own needs and wants—which translates to selflessly sacrificing ourselves to ensure the well-being of others. That is Lent—and, thanks to Jesus—we will rise above this too. Happy Easter, God Bless us all, Stay Safe, and Let Us Rejoice that He has Risen! "Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge." –Psalms 16

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