In July of 2019, I arrived at Manchester UMC and began my appointment as the Lead Pastor of this amazing congregation. Just eight months later, we went into pandemic mode, and our ministry has been impacted by Covid-19 ever since. I remember when we were eight months into the pandemic and we made note of the fact that I had been here in pandemic mode for an equal length of time as in “normal” mode.
I have been here over two and a half years, and I have never truly experienced Easter morning at Manchester.
To be fair, we had Easter in 2020 and 2021. But the only people present in the room were those leading worship. Everyone else was online. The “Season of Weirdness” was in full swing.
And this year, I know that there will still be many who choose to worship online for Easter. More and more people are comfortable being out in a group of people, but not everyone. Not yet. So there is still a thread of Covid weirdness woven into the plans and preparations.
The situation is still liminal, in transition, unsettled.
In this week’s “Disabling Lent” devotion, Rev. Lisa McKee writes, “We have slogged through Lent and now we are climbing Golgotha on our way to a bright and clean Easter morning.” That sentence hit me hard. How often over the past two years have we felt like we are just “slogging through” life, struggling to attain … something. Something bright and clean. Something Easter.
I made the same joke at the beginning of Lent 2022 that I did at the beginning of Lent 2021: It seems like Lent 2020 never ended. In many ways it feels like we went into Lent 2020 and it just stayed Lent. “Slogging” is the perfect verb to describe these past few years.
And yet, here we are. We are approaching Easter once again. Not there yet, but getting closer every day. And for now, that is going to have to be enough. Getting closer every day.
See y’all in church!