Boy, was this Easter different.
I did not get to buy new outfits for all of us. Wearing old clothes on Easter?! The horror! (Insert eye roll here.)
My husband is a pastor, so we still went to church, but it wasn't the same. Our praise team came, and we all stood on the stage and sang to an empty sanctuary. My husband preached to empty pews.
We streamed it online and thousands of people have already viewed it, but it's not the same.
I missed rushing to get us all out the door looking perfect for pictures.
I missed hugging and shaking hands with all of the visitors at church today.
I missed all of our "regulars" who have become more like family to me.
I missed watching 20 kids scoop up 1,000 eggs in less than 15 seconds.
But most of all, I missed corporate worship. I missed looking out over the congregation and seeing tears shed in thankfulness for what God has done for us. I missed seeing the sweet old ladies get "happy" when the preacher talks about the resurrection. I missed experiencing the command Jesus gave to us to "assemble yourselves together" that is so special to me. I missed the feeling that comes when God's people come together and usher in the sweet Holy Spirit.
If you've ever felt that, you know. If you haven't, I pray you get to.
I KNOW we can still be followers of Christ without a church building or church services. I just don't want to. I love church. It's part of who I am.
But this morning as I was praying, God gently reminded me that even though my Easter may look different this year, that HE is always the same. HE never changes. HE can meet me in an empty room or one that is overflowing with people.
May the empty church buildings this year be a reminder to you that the GRAVE is empty as well. May the different atmosphere we are living in at this moment cause you to yearn to get back in God's house once it is safe to do so.
Easter Sunday was hard this year. But think about the first Easter Sunday. Think about the events leading up to that day. It was hard for Jesus too. It was unimaginable. The things we are walking through today do not begin to compare to what Jesus did for us on the cross.
So today, praise Him through the changes. Since you can't go to corporate worship, walk in an attitude of worship today.
Remember that Easter is about an empty tomb, not an empty church.
Happy Easter, friends!
-written by Ashley Franks