Well, as we move into April, we will enter a phase that Nicole nicely described as “ramping up” as we slowly move to a less restrictive mode as we move to a post-pandemic reality.
To be clear, this ramping up will be a safe one. No running on the ramp here! We will be methodical and wise about it. The practical application of this is that we will use the outdoors, taking advantage of the warmer weather of Spring and Summer. This makes sense, right? Ramps are usually outdoors and lead to the front doors of a building.
Here are a couple upcoming events that are indicative of the early phases of the ramp-up to a post-pandemic reality.
This Sunday, March’s Communion Sunday on the 7th, I will be sharing the Communion elements using a drive-thru approach. This is how it will work: I will be on the front steps of the sanctuary with the plate of bread and with the tray of cups. As cars pull-up, I will present the bread and juice along with a printed prayer to folks inside their vehicles with masks on. Folks can then drive to the back parking lot, read the prayer, and prayerfully partake of the elements, maybe with sacred music playing in their car. This will start at 11 am. Our online service will be per usual and include a spiritual Communion prayer as well.
Then for Easter, which is April 4th, we will do what I am calling an Empty-grave Service. Our 10 am service will be as we’ve been doing remote on Facebook. It will amount to a memorial service, a happy Easter memorial service. Then, instead of a graveside service that follows memorial services, we will have an empty-grave service outdoors. It will happen in the front of the church, along West Main. It will be a short service at 11 am. Masks will be required. And it will end with a sharing of the Communion elements.
What about the weather? Well, we will have some canopy tents for our elderly. But folks will otherwise be encouraged to bring umbrellas. In other words, the outdoors Empty-Grave Service at 11 am on Easter will happen rain or shine.
With church business stuff out of the way, I share a memory. Easter mornings as a kid often included coffee and donuts. My father and I loved to go to Sunrise Service on Easter. I loved to go with him. We’d drive from Hudson, New York, our bustling town, to the quiet, rural church we attended in the pre-light dawn. The Catskills in the distance blinded by the night’s remnants. The country roads to Clermont Bible Church just beginning to sense some semblance of the sun not yet risen but rising.
We’d arrive at the church and join the handful of disciples and sing Easter tunes. “He lives.” “Because He lives.” “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” “…Alleluia!”
My dad was always his happiest, even radiant, on holidays. His laugh just a little extra infectious. And the sun would rise, the condensation and cold breaths joining us in the resurrection story. We’d enter the church together for coffee for my dad, chocolate milk for me, and donuts for the both of us.