April 12, 2020

On Congregating During COVID-19

Easter is different this year.

No community egg hunts, no Easter parades. But we’re still doing church. My congregation, Brentwood Christian, is in its fifth week of streaming services. We may have been a week ahead of the curve, but most faith organizations reacted swiftly, and streaming worship is now commonplace, even in small churches. Sunshine Baptist, a congregation in my neighborhood, canceled services on March 15 and started streaming on the 22nd.

That proves, “The church is people, not a building.”

And isn’t it nice that late risers can worship in their bathrobes?

Brentwood’s streaming service includes many regular features, and partaking of Sunday communion at home is different, but no less meaningful. Every day, our pastors work hard to keep families engaged with online activities, and at the same time encourage everyone to show love for the less fortunate.

I like what an Arkansas pastor said: “Love is not just an emotion; It’s a series of thoughtful actions.”

This same pastor himself tested positive for COVID-19. So did his wife and 35 other members of the Greers Ferry First Assembly, three of whom have died. They became infected before anyone realized they were in danger.

“The intensity of this virus has been underestimated by so many, and I continue to ask that each of you take it very seriously,” Greers’ Pastor Mark Palenske posted on March 22. “An act of wisdom and restraint on your part can be the blessing that preserves the health of someone else.”

Yes, Easter is different this year. But the message that love is “a series of thoughtful actions” remains constant today and every day. The most loving thing we can do this Easter is to stay home to protect others from infection.