Easter was celebrated a little differently this year. Because of COVID-19, the usual Easter bunny, massive egg hunts and customers running to stores for candy was the last thing on everyone’s mind. More importantly, people who normally gather to celebrate in their churches were not allowed the opportunity.
Easter, in the religious sense, is usually marked on the calendar to celebrate Jesus Christ and how he rose from the dead. It is also normally celebrated with a day, or week, off from school. This year saw many families celebrating from their homes and parents going to the store for tissue and diapers instead of candy.
Pastor Randy Cordell from Lakeshore Christian Church in Antioch says some good things have came from this crisis. “Having to do it [celebrate] online caused us to have a greater appreciation for the technology that we have. That allowed us to stay connected,” Cordell said.
Because many churches are gathering online nowadays, Lakeshore has had to go with the flow when it comes to technology. He says some churches were even calling it the first digital Easter.
“I started thinking about it and it dawned on me that [during] the very first Easter people were confined to their homes in fear. We don’t think about that sometimes,” Cordell said.
During the first Easter, Jesus had just been arrested which would ultimately lead to him being nailed to the cross. Many of his followers hid in their homes for fear of facing the same punishment. “This is not the first time the church had to deal with Easter from that perspective, by having to stay away,” Cordell said.
Churches have had to undergo a serious turnaround in response to this pandemic, including their holidays.
“We had to miss some things we really enjoyed in the past. We love getting together with our family, friends and church family. Easter was always a big event,” he said.
Cordell feels however that church members have had a different response then expected.
“That [pandemic] is something that could have taken over. What I tried to do at Lakeshore is to get people to see how God could use this in a good way too,” Cordell said.
Cordell is grateful that the technology has been used to connect the church in amazing ways. “Sometimes the church world is very critical of social media and how it takes us away from real relationships. But what we [the church] have found, if we do it properly, is we can use social and technology to connect us in good ways. We had more people connected online during Easter than we ever have had show up for services,” he said.
Lakeshore continues to stay connected not just for a major holiday but for other aspects. Cordell says church members continue to do life groups and Zoom calls all online to help stay connected.
Many churchgoers are still feeling the effects of not being able to actively attend church. So much so, that many churches are continuing to meet, against the social distancing orders.
“One of the greatest ways we can keep the greatest commandment, which is to love God and love others, is to love others enough to take a step that is hard for us to take. We are doing it out of love for others. We don’t want others to be infected or for this disease to spread. It is not essential that we be in a building to be a church. The people are the church,” Cordell said.