When I think back to the start of this Lenten season, I can’t help but smile of all that we didn’t yet know. At the end of February when Lent began, we didn’t yet know the ways in which COVID-19 would turn our worlds upside down. We didn’t know how quickly it would spread or the impact that it would have on the livelihoods of so many. But here we are. It’s Good Friday, and I find myself feeling the ache and the longing for Jesus now maybe more than ever.
Earlier this week, my sister and I started watching The Chosen, a series on the life of Jesus told through the perspective of the disciples. It’s a crowdfunded project that was filmed and produced without any Hollywood studio and is actually really impressive from a production standpoint.
The first episode focused moderately on Mary Magdalene and although we don’t see Jesus much in the episode, we know that it is set during a time when he is alive. In the last two minutes or so of the episode, we finally get to see Jesus when he shows up and helps Mary. He called her by name and embraced in a very moving scene. Admittedly, I laughed a bit at how excited we got when we saw him but then it quickly turned to a bittersweet emotion.
Now more than ever I long to see the face of Jesus. In a world of uncertainty and sickness, brokenness and death, we need Jesus. Man, do we need Him. In a season where I am constantly craving an actual, real hug with another human being the imagery of embracing Jesus leaves me a bit teary. Can you imagine hugging Jesus? Goodness, that would be the best hug ever.
And so here we are on Good Friday. Longing to just be near Him in this time, frustrated by this reality, and yet full of joy and hope in what His sacrifice ultimately means for us. To quote a this video: “What’s so good about Good Friday? Just one thing: that the blood of Jesus can reverse the curse of sin and raise the dead to life.”…”Our sin drove the nails, our sin stopped his heart and yet this is the incredible part of it: He never stopped loving us.”
This Sunday, most of the country/world will be celebrating Easter Sunday outside of their physical church buildings for maybe the first time at least in recent memory. And while we know that “the church” is not solely a brick and mortar building, there is something beautiful that happens when the church as a body gathers together that we will be missing this year. I’ve said often during this quarantine that whenever we get the clearance to have Sunday church together again, there’s no way I’m going to be able to get through it without crying. I just know it’s going to be like nothing I’ve experienced.
Though we find ourselves ushering Easter in while in the midst of very unique circumstances, there is still beauty to be found. We can mourn the absence of celebratory Easter morning gatherings while also acknowledging that the Gospel is still true and real and needed now more than ever. Gatherings might be cancelled but hope is not. Jesus is alive and death has no hold on us. He took on the unimaginable suffering that we all deserve and loved us through it all. Come thou fount of every blessing. Tune our hearts to sing Thy grace.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24, ESV