This Good Friday and Easter Weekend are going to be different for all of us…and really different for many of us.
If you’re like me, there’s never been an Easter when you didn’t celebrate it with lots of people. From the days when I was a baby dressed up by my parents in my finest, new Easter outfit to adult memories of celebrating Easter in as diverse places as the Philippines, Spain, Costa Rica and the United States, Easter weekend has always been something shared with crowds of brothers and sisters in both my spiritual and nuclear families.
That’s why this Easter Weekend will be one like never before.
Most of us are going to be either alone in our homes or limited to across-the-street waves and greetings at a safe, social distance. Even for natural introverts like me whose jobs have trained us to constantly relate to others in an extraverted fashion, these days of isolation and aloneness are, well, unsettling.
Our Savior Jesus was no stranger to being alone. I don’t know if he liked it any more than most of us do, but he definitely learned to use it to live fully human in the most divine way every experienced by anyone on this earth.
But I’m beginning to think that Jesus learned how to use aloneness well. We catch glimpses of Him using aloneness to accomplish the Father’s will all throughout his life.
- When he was a teenager, He learned what it felt like to be along in a crowd as he was pummeled with questions by the PhD’s of his day in His Father’s House that Passover weekend in Jerusalem.
- As a young adult, when all his friends were finding spouses and starting families, Jesus learned the aloneness of the single life.
- Before he began His three and a half years of intense engagement with people in ministry, He learned how to be alone forty days in the desert, isolated from food, friendship and even the heavenly hosts but well acquainted with temptation, deprivation, solitude, silence and hunger.
- Then there were those many nights when he either got up well before it was daylight or spent the entire night alone on a hillside praying…alone.
But on this very weekend we know as Easter, Jesus suffered an aloneness like none other…and like none you and I will ever know. From the moment all his best friends abandoned him in the Garden of Gethsemane that night to the second he breathed His last alone on that cross, the only person who stayed by his side at any point along that horrible journey of suffering was Simon the Cyrene, a stranger forced to do so at the point of a Roman sword.
But by far the worst aloneness any human has ever known this side of hell came when God the Father turned his face away from God the Son and poured out all his divine wrath against our sin on our Savior on that cross. As Jesus’ cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” echoed through the halls of heaven, He experience an aloneness like never before and like none other since.
So, as we experience Good Friday and Easter Sunday this weekend, more isolated than we’ve probably ever known before, let me invite you to encounter Jesus in the aloneness of this Easter.
- Join Andrew, Katie and me as we share a contemplative Good Friday service with you filled with Scripture, music and meditation. You’ll find it on YouTube tonight (available at 6:30 p.m.) by going to our mosaicspokane.com website and clicking on the big, red YouTube rotating header at the top. It should take you directly to the service any time after 6:30 p.m.
- Easter Sunday we’ll be broadcasting the service starting at 8:45 a.m. on both YouTube (same as above instructions) and our Mosaic Fellowship Spokane Facebook Live page under “videos.”
As we experience a bit of aloneness this Easter, let’s not forget to thank God that we will never be alone or separated from His everlasting loving kindness, neither now nor in all eternity, thanks to the journey Jesus took two-thousand years ago…alone.
Truly, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:39).