The Sun Comes Up
I wrote this as a devotion for my church this week, as this very different Easter of being quarantined approached. Happy Easter! He is risen!
Most mornings, I wake up to a sweet three year old voice standing at the side of my bed excitedly announcing “Mommy! Mommy! Sun come up! It’s morning time!”. While I am not a morning person and am often not quite ready to wake up yet, I can’t help but smile at the excitement Macon has each morning when he discovers that once again, the sun has come up and it’s a new day. It’s something I take for granted–of course the sun is going to come up each morning.
Just a few weeks ago, I took a lot of things for granted. That school would be operating as normal, that if we ran out of something at home, it would be available at the grocery store, that I could get in my car and drop by Target or the library just because I felt like it, and that on Sunday mornings we would gather together at church. But all of a sudden, everything changed. Many of the things I took for granted are drastically and dramatically different than they were a month ago. A virus is lurking around and quickly changing the world as we know it.
The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions.
Fear: Will I get it? Will one of my loved ones get it? Are we safe? What are the financial impacts of this going to be?
Grief: All these things I was looking forward to are suddenly cancelled. “Normal” life seems to have disappeared overnight. I can no longer do things that I want.
Despair: When will this ever end? Will life ever go back to normal?
Frustration: Why are other people not following the rules? Why are people not taking this seriously?
Gratitude: I’m actually enjoying this extra family time. I’m thankful to have a safe home and technology to keep our family entertained and connected in this strange time.
Guilt: Should I be enjoying myself when so many lives are being turned upside down?
Normal routines have disappeared suddenly. Trying to do school from home is hard, not being able to go anywhere is hard. Extroverts are struggling with having no one outside of their immediate families to see, introverts are struggling with the fact that they are no longer getting their alone time. Everything is mixed up and upside down.
But every morning, the sun still comes up. Every day, there are new mercies and new things to be thankful for. Our health and safety may not seem as secure as it did just a month ago. But Jesus doesn’t call us to a life of health and security. Jesus calls us to a life of following him. In one of my favorite scenes from Narnia, the Pevensie children are discussing Aslan with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver.
“Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"
“That you will dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “If there’s anyone who can appear before Alan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr Beaver, “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The world seems especially unsafe right now, in a way that we couldn’t have imagined a month ago. Now, the simple act of going to the grocery store could leave us sickened by this terrible virus that is rapidly changing our world. We are weighing the risks of leaving our house in a way that we never have before. The ways that we are called to serve right now are very different than the ways we served a month ago. Some of us are being asked to love our neighbor by staying home. Some of us are being called to love our neighbor by going to work and putting ourselves at risk of contracting the virus. Some are being called to be on the very front lines of the crisis, working in hospitals, grocery stores, and as emergency responders, putting themselves at high risk. Some of us are being called to use our sewing skills to love our neighbor by sewing masks. Some of us are being called to check in on those at home alone, perhaps brightening their day with a virtual visit from their grandkids via facetime or by dropping groceries off on the porch.
Maybe we are being called to quiet, to slowing down, to giving Jesus the space to speak into our lives. Maybe as the hustle and bustle of life is stopped for a time, as the noise is quieted, we are being called to listen. Maybe we are being called to turn off Netflix, pause the podcasts, logout of facebook and instagram, and focus on our families and our God.
As Easter approaches, maybe we are called to experience this time in a new way. Instead of scrambling to make sure we have the right Easter outfit, make it to all of the Easter egg hunts that we can squeeze onto our calendar, and plan the perfect Easter meal, maybe we are being called to remember the miracle of miracles.
Jesus died on a cross to give us eternal life, and after three days in a tomb, he rose from the dead. After the darkness of Good Friday came the light of the resurrection.
There is no doubt that this Easter will be different, that it will stick out in our memories because of the strangeness of this season. But let’s not remember it just because it was the Easter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Easter we couldn’t leave our homes or gather together in church. Let’s remember it because it was the Easter we took time to slow down and appreciate the resurrection in a new way.