If you ask people what they miss most during this time of isolation, you can be reasonably sure it’s not their workplace or Rotary meetings or sports practice or shopping or the theater or restaurants or even church. If you ask what the first thing they want to do when restrictions are lifted, most won’t say they’re going to run straight to the pub or go work out at the gym or purchase concert tickets.
Oh, they’ll do those things eventually. But for most of us, what we’re looking forward to the most is a reunion with loved ones. Grandparents ache to hug their grandkids again. Children and teenagers are eager to see their friends. Young couples in love will enjoy that first embrace more than any other. Every “first-time-back” meeting will be a place of joy, smiles, and connection. Church lobbies everywhere will look like mass hug-fests the first Sunday we gather again. The longer we must wait, the more precious that day will be.
It’s fun to imagine the rejoicing, the cheers, the smiles, the bursting into song, the bounce in people’s steps when that day comes. We’re social creatures, made for community. For what some call “fellowship.”
And in a way, that’s what Easter is all about.
When sin entered our world—and along with it, sickness and death—it doomed us to a future separated from God and eventually from each other. God is perfect and cannot fellowship with sinfulness. Our sinfulness broke his heart, because he wants community with us.
So he made a way.
He sent his son, Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sin. Because Jesus was perfect, when he died on the cross, it took care of the sin part. But only his resurrection could solve the separation part. Three days after his death, he rose from the dead. Because he did, we can too. This is why death holds no power over those who believe in him. It’s why Christians can feel deep joy at a funeral, even while we’re sad and grieving. We know there’s a great reunion coming, and we look forward to that day more than any other.
1 Corinthians 15:55 asks, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The man who wrote those words, Paul, told believers not to grieve “as those who have no hope.” He didn’t tell us not to grieve. Of course we grieve. But we grieve with the knowledge that our separation is temporary.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything. It teaches us how to grieve. It teaches us how to die. It teaches us how to wait.
Easter 2020 will be one for the history books, won’t it? Whether you’re stuck at home with kids who can’t participate in their usual traditions, or home alone longing for a family gathering, or worried because someone you care about is ill, or grieving the loss of a loved one—may this Easter serve to remind you why it’s the most important holiday on the calendar. There’s a great reunion coming that Easter made possible.
The longer we must wait, the more precious that day will be.