Based on its latest survey, which essentially suggests that more people in the United States plan to attend Easter services tomorrow than attended them last year, though not as many people as might have attended Easter services in other years, the Pew Research Center last month said that the Easter season that begins tomorrow “promises to be the second consecutive highly atypical Easter season.”
To be sure, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with its resulting precautions, such as wearing facemasks and practicing social distancing, in some sense does make this Easter season, like last year’s, somewhat unlike other Easter seasons, though the unchanged good news of the resurrection of Jesus from the death that He suffered on the cross to save all people from their sins makes this Easter season just like every other Easter season!
Jesus rose from the dead bodily and lives, with the same body that had hung on the cross three days earlier, He did not “virtually” arise, nor did His disciples merely “keep Him alive” in their thoughts and prayers, in their minds and hearts, or in the teaching of the Church.
And, on the Last Day all people likewise will arise in their same bodies and go either to eternal life, on account of their repentance and faith and the good works that they produced, or to eternal torment, on account of their impenitence and disbelief and the evil works that they produced.
Faithful congregations like Pilgrim were open last year, as in previous years, and will be open tomorrow, as in future years, in order both to proclaim that good news of Jesus’s resurrection and to distribute the benefits of His death on the cross through the Word’s sacramental forms: Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution and Holy Communion.
Faithful Christians have attended and will attend, and they will attend in person, for, more than they trust science and medicine and its decrees, faithful Christians trust God and His promises prioritizing the life to come, and they recognize their need to receive especially Christ’s real, physical Body and Blood in Holy Communion (John 6:53-58).
All are invited to Pilgrim tomorrow, both for our additional Easter Sunday activities — 8 a.m. breakfast and 9 a.m. egg hunt — and for our regular 9:30 a.m. Sunday school and adult Bible class and for our 10:45 a.m. divine service. Unlike or like every other Easter season, all are still always welcome!
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.