I was thinking last night about our Lenten / Easter theme for this year.
We planned on illustrating relationship and service to others through the foot washing. We were really trying to get people to think about how Christ restored our right relationship to God, our right worship, etc. We wanted to get people to think about what it would be like without Christ. The primary symbol of that was to be the stripping of the sanctuary on Thursday night, combined with a very different type of worship on Friday, and a celebration the amazing restoration of relationship with God and others on Easter.
Little did we know that we would see that illustration writ large and in a way that we would never have been able to demonstrate (and indeed do not want to). All that we understood 1 month ago about church life, and worship, and relationships with people has been turned upside down, shaken up, and dumped on the floor like so many puzzle pieces.
We are having to find new ways to “wash each others feet”, without actually touching or even being near each other. The “sanctuary” of Sunday morning worship has been completely stripped from us. We are forced to think about facing unprecedented fear, loneliness, even grief without our normal sources of comfort and support. Stark, stripped, barren… The very image we wanted to get people to think about.
Yes, we can do things to bridge that… but its not the same.
But how great will our rejoicing be when we gather together for the first time again! I am loving the thought that our first service will be Easter (in May or June, or whenever). What a picture of our first meeting in heaven on the day of the Lord! Every people and nation and tribe, reunited for the first time! Rejoicing as our relationships to each other are restored, our true worship has been restored, our true relationship with God is restored… all of it forever.
PS: Even as all of that is going on, I am having to remind myself (personally as an individual) that life is in fact different. For me, it is the same as always. Go to work, stress out about the normal things, talk to drivers, customers, do my thing… I am not feeling any of the isolation that is part of peoples lives, even my own wife and kids lives. I need to remember that as I deal with people. Right now I am the exception, not the rule.