Here in our Beloved Community, we are doing our best to take care of each other during this COVID 19 crisis. We spend our days reinventing our programs to move them on-line, we make sure our community knows where all the resources are to take care of their most basic needs and we check in on each other throughout the week.
But we miss the intimacy of being together. Right now, we are preparing to reinvent how our Easter celebration will take place. We are practicing for Easter, with our church happening virtually every Sunday. But what will Easter be like?
Easter worship service has been this sacred space … with an early breakfast, songs, and some teaching, an Easter egg hunt for the children and baptisms. All of it at our Hope House, and Hope House swimming pool. The ones who will be baptized come prepared with their testimonies, some long, some short, written out describing their journey toward this moment. This solemn moment of decision for Christ has led them to stepping into the water to identify with the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, the holy emersion.
Many of the people I text with right now or worry about or try to figure out how to help (or who are helping me) during this Coronavirus pandemic are people who stepped into that water. I have within me their testimonies. I carry their words … their hope that all the bad will be washed away, their awareness of the work of God in bringing them to this place and their desire for the Holy Spirit to take over their daily living and imagination. “This was the day I surrendered to Jesus, this marks the day when I believed he would and could get me through all that life would bring”.
Like those Adhoc choruses you hear on-line during our shelter-in-place, people singing together but separately from their homes, listen to these precious saint’s “song” as we prepare for another blessed and holy Easter together …
For years I wasn’t ready to be baptized
Wasn’t ready to surrender
I’ve done, seen, been victim to so many bad things
I was angry, beaten down, swallowed up
Church was not a safe place (I don’t mean this church, though)
To be honest, God wasn’t a safe place
I tried to do it on my own
It didn’t work
Then LOVE came into my life and “bade me welcome”
“Cherished Child, I know you. I have been here. I have never left you. Those tortured nights, I was there, suffering with you. In prison, I was there. At their death place, I was there. At the marches, for justice, I was there. In your lostness, I was looking for you.”
But I said,
I’m not ready, I will fail you, I will slip back to where I come from,
I can’t be what you want from me.
Then LOVE said,
“I took care of all of that, already. It’s done, finished.”
And so, I said, I AM ready.
Today I follow Jesus, my Lord, my protector, my provider, my hope, my rescuer, my vision, God of justice and God of peace.
One more thing. Before I finish,
I want to thank my Beloved Community for bringing me this far,
who I now join in solidarity
for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.
Blessed Easter, dear friends. You are part of our Beloved Community. Be invited into our Easter celebration on-line. We want to pray with and for you. I’m certain that this overwhelming crisis won’t separate us from the love of God. Possibly, it will intensify our love for each other.
For information on how Neighborhood Ministries is responding to this crisis, see our web page: NM COVID – 19 — RELIEF FUND
God bless you,
P.S. While it’s true that love is always costly, it doesn’t have to be financially costly. Our state is unique in that we have an option to give love and hope for free through the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. If you haven’t yet given up to the $400 for those filing singly or $800 for those filing jointly, there is still time to give a gift that changes lives and apply that gift against what you owe in taxes for 2019. Thank you and God bless!