Today is Easter, and long-honored New Mexico traditions like the trek to Chimayo are on hiatus this year and maybe next year, too. Churches across and upon the US of A have also cancelled Easter services under “stay at.home” orders. Disappointment and ire are expressed by church attendees who were either hoping for an expedited miracle cure for COVID-19 or a one-day relaxing of self-isolation so they could attend church on this profound holy day for Christianity.
Leave it to our US of A media to focus on the most irate and vocal Christians howling “This isn’t fair!” And leave it to social media to cherry-pick these disgruntled devout articles just to lay out Facebook comnentary like “What don’t these Christians understand about stay at home? Are they stupid?” And then there’s indignant Facebook logic like “You can worship God anywhere!” and “Do you think God wants you to make everyone sick?” But it’s not so myopic, brainless, and immature as portrayed. C’mon. It’s Facebook Shaming. I doubt anyone’s faith is going to be rattled by Margaret Krutchner of Dubuque, Iowa, perched before her Commodore 64 pecking away all the ills of world as seen on Ellen, her and her CRT, the perfect partners in moral outrage. For Christians on Easter, I suspect there’s a more primal contemplation at play, one each of can relate to if we step back and think it through.
All of us have been stuck in our homes for weeks. With me, I feel perpetually separated from my community. If there is a common excuse available to get me into a room with other people, even if for only a few hours, I’d be incredibly tempted. Our Stand Up To Stigma peer support groups could be that excuse. Although I couldn’t bear to act on it, I’m craving and longing to be in the physical presence of other warm human bodies.I imagine Christians seek the same in-person connection with others.
This is because church isn’t only to praise God. It’s also a weekly gathering for friendship, companionship, and fellowship. And, it’s an anchor to a recent-past normality in a newly abnormal world. Taking this away from people who feel they’ve lost enough … it’s something any of us can empathize with if we contemplate what part of our community we’re separated from because of COVID-19.
Church is where many go to make sense of life and the world. Life and the world is becoming increasingly more confusing. Church is a place where we go to feel a bit more reassured, Things are increasingly more uncertain. And church is a community of people we gather with so we don’t feel so alone. We’re staying home. Tespibsibly. Minimizing human contact. Home. Alone. This isn’t some perplexingly popular Culkin-Hughe collaboration, all fun and slapstick and sadistic. We’re cut off from human contact, a torment made all the more inescapably real for Christians on Easter Sunday.
What has COVID-19 taken from church-going Christians? The same thing that’s been taken from all of us.
So it makes sense emotionally to want to.be with others who hold Easter as central to their social being as Christians spiritually together share.
In a vety real way, I empathize because I’m missing both Adam Ant and My Chemical Romance in concert this year. We Ant Wartiors and Kill Joys feel a horrific social thievery by COVID-19. Don’t laugh at me. If you laugh you’re going to Hell. I know this is true because it’s Easter and my Homie, Jesus, he’s got my back today.
Personally, I think it’s irresponsible to congregate for church services. It can be argued their Lird and Ssvior made a bigger sacrifice than staying home on Easter, and Christianty has a lot to do with divibe leading by divine example. I simply wanted to offer perspective that perhaps selfishness or absence of common sense aren’t neccesarily the prime motivation for aching to go to church on Easter Sunday. Spiritual wellness is every bit as important as physical wellness and mental wellness as we sit out on life – alone and away from social interaction – for who knows how long. Hoprfully, we’ll be done with self-quarantinr before the Second Coming. I’d be truly torqued off missing out on so many concerts because of COVID-19 and the Rapture.
Sure, religious faith can take place anywhere God is: Everywhere and anywhere at anytime. There’s more to church than only worship. It’s a lacking connection to humanity we all feel in so many ways. Being reminded of this because it’s Easter must really ache for Christians.
All said, Christians still shouldn’t be meeting for church services. But here’s a modest, workable compromise.
Open the churches for Easter servives. Then after services, just quarantine everyone in the church for two weeks.
I feel the torment of Christians. I do. Honest and truly I do. Come April 26 and I’m not at the KiMo enjoying the tuneage of the original Ant Warrior, you’re going to hear me all grumpy and complainy, too.