By Janet Niedoba
When Joe and I go out for daily walks through the neighbourhood, while respecting social distancing, I notice that the children have posted colourful drawings in their living room windows. They are, by and large, pictures of hope – rainbows, flowers. One ambitious family converted their entire front window to a drawing of a stained-glass window with the extra large letters spelling HOPE.
These displays got me to thinking how we, as a parish, might celebrate Holy Week. Could we, for instance stand at the end of our driveways on Palm Sunday and wave a homemade palm frond (my grade school teachers taught us how to make “trees” out of newspaper). Could we decorate our lawns for Easter the way people decorate for the Bolton Fall Fair? (I am confident Maureen Kowal already has a special Easter display at her house on Kingsview.)
But then it occurred to me…perhaps our self-isolation is in fact, a more authentic experience of Easter. I remembered that even though the disciples learned the good news that Christ had risen, they were still quite frightened by the events of Holy Week. Peter was so terrified on the night of the Crucifixion that he might also be put to death, that he lied about knowing Jesus. We are told that they stayed locked and isolated in the upper room.
The Good News is Christ met them in their isolation, fear, and grief. He came to their upper room to be with them.
It was not until the disciples encountered the Living God in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, that they went out into the world to preach the gospel.
I know that self-isolation is difficult. I will truly miss you all when we listen to the Passion narrative read on Palm Sunday. For me, it is one the most visceral experiences of the Living Word when we all participate in reading it aloud. I will miss the joyous singing of Jesus Christ is Risen Today on Easter Sunday. However, I am positive that Christ will be there to meet us in our isolation just as He did that first Easter with the disciples, just as he always does when we need him. I continue to pray that by Pentecost we too may go back into the world to tell our neighbours about our encounters with Christ.
Happy Easter my sisters and brothers in Christ!
Janet Niedoba is a member of the parish of Christ Church, Bolton. She is an active member of our parish choir and once served as a People’s Warden.