The Year that COVID-19 Hijacked Easter

Who Threw My Plans Out the Window?

Have your plans gone out the window this Easter? Maybe you’d booked a beach holiday months ago and can’t go because you’re not allowed to travel across the border. Perhaps you’d been looking forward to an event that’s been cancelled or postponed, like Sydney’s Royal Easter Show or Toowoomba’s Streets and Lanes Festival. Maybe you were planning a big barbecue for family and friends, but had to call it off because of the stringent social-distancing regulations. And who knows what the travel restrictions will do to the Easter Bunny’s chocky deliveries!

COVID-19 has certainly wrecked a lot of plans. Weddings and funerals can only go ahead with minuscule numbers of attendees, elective surgeries and medical procedures have been cancelled, and the Olympic Games have been postponed for the first time since World War II.

A few weeks ago, our plans for the year seemed so certain. Now we can’t even predict what’s happening from one day to the next.

Easter With No Church?

The church has also been hit. Easter is the most significant event on the church calendar, a time when Christians remember Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection. The pews are usually full and the morning teas are replete with Hot Cross Buns. This year the churches will be empty, and parishioners will be tuning in to live-streamed services or worshipping in their own way at home. It’s good to remember that the church is the body of believers and not just a building. Still, it’s not what we’d planned!

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels

Does God Have a Plan B?

Photo by congerdesign on Pixabay

Jesus’ disciples probably thought God’s plans had gone out the window too. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah who saved them from the Roman oppressors, yet he was crucified and his followers scattered. How could that have been God’s strategy to save the world? Yet it was God’s plan all along. We couldn’t save ourselves, but Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid the price for our sins. If we place our trust in him, we’re adopted into God’s family and have the assurance of spending eternity with him.

If you’ve never really considered the claims of Christ, there’s never been a better time to start. Why not check out a streamed service this Easter and see what it’s all about? Here are a couple of churches in my area that will be holding live-stream services (times are Australian Eastern Standard Time). 

St Barts Anglican Church – Good Friday and Easter Sunday at 9.30 am

https://stbarts.com.au/livestream or go straight to the St Bart’s Toowoomba YouTube Channel.

Rangeville Uniting Church – Good Friday and Easter Sunday at 9.00 am.

https://www.rangeville.com/

Or if you don’t want to tune in to the live stream, you can always watch the videos later. Some churches also have transcripts online. Please feel free to add links to other live-streamed Easter services in the comments below.

This Easter will be different to anything most of us have experienced in our lifetimes, but it doesn’t have to be Plan B.

How will you be spending this extraordinary Easter? I’d love to hear your comments.

(Photo credit: Featured image by Pearl from Lightstock)

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14 Responses

  1. Good post Nola. Worth reminding us.

    Last year a young person with CFS asked me a tough question. What was the most important thing God had taught me from my 24 (now 25) years with CFS, with the social isolation and the things I couldn’t do. I didn’t know how to answer at first but in the end I said that it was knowing that I was never alone, no matter what it felt like. God was always there. For months after, I felt like this was an inadequate answer but now I’m thinking that maybe I was right the first time. God is still with us.

    Your post extends that to remind us that He is still in control, even when we aren’t. Thanks for that.

    1. Hi Greg – Thanks for sharing a bit of your story. I think most of us are just now getting a taste of what it’s like to be isolated, but people with chronic illnesses or disabilities are often socially isolated and hidden from our view. It’s easy to forget that there are people struggling with different things all the time, not just now. Hopefully one good thing that will come out of this is that we’ll be able to empathise with others more, and hopefully that will lead to more acts of kindness, better inclusion and better connections. That’s wonderful that you’ve been able to stay strong in your faith through those years, though I imagine it wouldn’t have been easy at times. That’s a great encouragement. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Great post Nola, Easter just doesn’t ‘feel’ like Easter does it? For me it seems like everything is in this unwanted holding pattern.
    Yet, at the same time though it is an opportunity for everyone to reflect.
    What do people really think about God, Jesus and the Bible?
    I’m with you and think it is so wonderful to be loved by the great God who created the world and everything it.
    And like you, I’ll be praying our nation will spend time in reflection and contemplation over the Easter weekend. This Easter without all the shopping, presents and gatherings (lets leave the chocolate out of the discussion, wink wink.)
    Have a blessed Easter time!

    1. Thanks for that, Dianne. Yes, it certainly is a time for reflection. I know a lot of people will be disappointed that their plans didn’t work out, but it is a great time to think about what’s most important. It will be interesting when all this is over to see what lessons come out of it. It’s hard to see them when we’re in the middle of everything, but I know God will teach us through this if we’re willing to listen. And if we eat a few kg of chocolate while we’re contemplating, all the better 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Thanks for this encouragement Nola. Easter and our entire lives for many of us, certainly aren’t looking like we planned but in the midst of all this, I believe God is still good and is still in control. I believe many of us will come out of this time changed, with new perspectives and more grateful hearts. Happy Easter to you and Tim. We certainly have good reason to celebrate. Enjoy munching your way through those few kgs of chocolate. 🍫

    1. Thanks Janelle. Yes I think you’re right there. We will definitely come out of this changed and with new perspectives. A couple of months ago I never thought I’d be grateful for toilet paper – LOL! And Janelle, I bet you’ll come out of this with some brilliant devotions to share with us. I’ll look forward to reading them. Thanks for commenting 🙂

    1. Thanks Elaine. I was also reminded of Proverbs 16:9 ‘We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.’ (NLT) Just as well God knows what’s happening. I hope you have a lovely Easter too, Elaine. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. Ah, the ‘How could that be …?’ response. I know it well and have become very familiar with the truth in Isaiah 55:9 “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” NLT Even so, as I read your blog, tears of wonder and gratitude flowed again at the depth of love and sacrifice Jesus Christ poured out of himself to fulfil that holy and divine plan.

    For various reasons, I’ve grown accustomed to maintaining considerable flexibility when it comes to ‘plans’. Tentative works well for me. But of one thing I am confident, God’s plans remain both gently flexible (on account of our fragile and fickle inclinations), and inexorably consistent in their perfection. I can always trust them, and him.

    1. Thanks for that, Mazzy. Yes it’s good to remember those truths in these times. I don’t do tentative well. I like to have everything locked down. Oops. I guess that’s what we have! But it is good to know that God’s plans remain constant. I’m sure a lot of good will come out of this. Thanks for your encouraging words 🙂

  5. Thanks, Nola for sharing these insights. It’s good to be reminded that God always knows what He is doing. A teacher of the Bible that I respect put it like this: “God never says ‘oops?!'” We are reminded in one of the letters to remember to say ‘if the Lord wills, we will do this or that’ instead of presuming everything will happen exactly as we plan. Of course goals and plans are important, to prevent us from giving our time and energy to activities that are of little or no benefit to us or anyone else. Making plans and setting goals hasn’t been a strong suit of mine. I do have desires and aspirations which could be considered vague goals. When these are delayed or thwarted it helps to reframe disappointing situations and remind myself that we have a kind and loving heavenly Father who really does care for us. We can trust him. Sometimes our goals and plans are replaced by an important lesson or exercise that helps to grow our characters. I have had lots of these! One benefit from having a quiet Easter weekend without the usual commercial clamour is that it has been easier to focus on spiritual meaning. The vulnerability of our whole world to the virus that is threatening us all highlights how illusive our sense of control is. I am soberly reminded of how much we need the One who gave his life to overcome all that would ultimately harm us. And how precious and essential is his gift of new life, hope, and joy.

    1. Hi Wayne – Thanks for those thoughts. I’ve been thinking about that verse lately too, about the plans we make. A lot of my plans for writing can still go ahead this year, but a lot of people have had their plans totally upended. It’s good to know that God is in control even then, and his plans for us are always good. I’m sure he’s teaching us a lot through this if we’re willing to listen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I pray your dreams will be fulfilled in ways you can’t even imagine.

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