COVID-19: zoomed out

We should never ever let ourselves forget Easter 2020. 

It should stick to our souls like preschoolers working with glue and cut paper shapes for the first time.

It should stick to us like peanut butter and jelly on a grandchild at lunch time.

It should stick to us like a barnacles on dock posts in a harbor.

Don’t make a mental note, write it down somewhere: don’t ever forget Easter 2020.

Post it somewhere. 

Somewhere, so that you will be able to see it everyday.

Somewhere, where it will stick to your soul.

On Easter Sunday morning, I was up early as usual. 

I did my reading of the Upper Room, read the recommended scriptures, read the last post from our church’s Lenten devotional book, and prayed.

I did a tweak of my projected Might Be Baloney blog posting, and then headed to Trinity to open up.

This should be no surprised to you, but the building is quiet. 

None of the usual human sounds are present. Occasionally, from a mechanical room I hear a compressor kick on and run its cycle.

On this overcast morning, I need to remove the black cloth from the cross out front. This year, I will replace the black cloth with a white one.

No chicken wire will be placed on the cross for the placement of fresh cut flowers— thanks COVID-19.

A confession to the Stitchers, I robbed a piece of white material from your tractor trailer stash of cloth. I hope you will forgive me.

Since the weather guys are predicting a stormy Monday, I cleared a couple of storm drains from spring tree debris. The church building is officially closed on Monday. 

By the time I left, modern worship leader, Aaron Miller, was in the building. He was making some adjustments for the morning worship service.

Interestingly, the day ahead of us was to be centered upon technology.

 At 9:30, we would Zoom with our Sunday school class.

 Next, at 11, we tuned into the church website for the uStream of the worship service. 

And then at 3:30, we would Zoom with our family. 

On Saturday afternoon, we had a Zoom cocktail hour with our dearest friends from college, and earlier in the week, we had a Trinity trustees meeting via Zoom. 

In a blink, I think Zoom and its counterparts have become the new normal.

Something really scary happened on Sunday afternoon during our family Zoom gathering. 

All of a sudden my wife’s 92 year old mother was on the screen with us. In a matter of minutes, she had figured out the app, followed the prompts, and thanks to those technology gods—she was present.

I was impressed. I can barely figure this junk out at 67. Who knows if I make it to 92, I might be zooming back and forth to Mars everyday.

Of course, I did have a couple of grumpy moments on Easter Sunday. 

My blog provider notified me that my annual renewal fee was coming up. I thought to myself the nerve to bug me on Easter Sunday about this. Quickly, I fired off an e-mail. And of course, they responded with— our system of notification doesn’t pay attention to traditional calendar events. 

And then, the quietness of an afternoon walk was broken with three intruders—a lawn mower, a weed eater, and a leaf blower. Maybe someone can chart Handel’s Hallelujah chorus to include that threesome. But, to really round out that sound, we needed a chainsaw. Oh, well, maybe next Easter the chainsaw will chime in too.

But, on our walk, my wife, the Commander Supreme, did show me something notable that she and her walking partner, neighbor Barbara Teague, found on an earlier walk.

In the front yard of a house on Baldwin Road, a small cross was present, and the cross was covered in azalea blooms. The cross was beautiful—some of my grumpiness disappeared.

Years ago in a letter, a friend wrote these words to me from Proverbs 3:5-6:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

I know for certain I have referenced my friend’s letter and that Bible verse in other writings. For some reason, those words from Proverbs have stuck with me.

I hope that little cross of azalea blooms will stick to me a long time too.

Yes, this Easter was different, but we need to let its impact stick to us. We need to learn from it. To hold tight to it.

And even though, we might be about zoomed out, that cross is the path for our hearts to follow. 

Stick to it.

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