April 14, 2020

The Big Let Down

When stay-at-home orders were being issued a few weeks ago, the short-term agenda for many Christian leaders was simply getting their communities through Lent and making Easter services happen as best as possible. It may have been, in a sense, a distraction from how dramatic a shift had just happened to our work. Of course, critical-thinking folks did not think the president's aspirations for huge Easter gatherings to be reasonable. Still, some of us had hopes–in the back of our minds–that if we simply focused on the task at hand (of getting to Easter) things might be different afterwards. Some of us may have been more cynical. That doesn't change the big let down after Easter.

So what's next?

First, congratulations! You led people through one of the most important seasons and celebrations of the Christian calendar under incredibly unique conditions. We are grateful for your leadership.

Second, take a nap!

Rest. Read a book for enjoyment. Exercise. Spend ample time with loved ones. We need you to take care of yourself.

Third, now we look towards what's ahead with the uncertainty of when "normal" will return and the uncertainty of how this pandemic will impact the economy. Yet, we additionally look ahead with certainty of the Resurrection.

I'm reminded of this image I once saw AJ Sherill share. It's a simplified demonstration of what is happening throughout the liturgical year–the why that drives what we liturgical Christians do at certain times of year. As Sherrill demonstrates, we have entered into a season of recognizing God's presence within us which is followed by a season of recognizing God's working through us. This is our "what's next."

Now you may begin to prepare God's people to think about how to mobilize for the sake of others. How might we use the decentralizing moment and democratizing tools available to us to empower God's people to care for others so that we participate in what God longs to do through us for the sake of the world.

With this in mind, my friend Becky Zartman has developed a wonderful study of Acts for Eastertide. You might consider using this to prepare your people for what's next.

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