I’ve seen this social-distancing time we are experiencing called The Great Pause. Our leaders have asked us to stay home except for essential trips. Some have complained about the limits on our personal freedom. I’ve also seen many people talk about how they feel blessed to have a chance to reconnect with their closest loved ones.
I’ve been doing a lot of pausing to think about wants vs needs every time I have an impulse to make a quick trip to the store, or somewhere else. I’ll think, “Oh, I need some ___.” But then I pause and ask myself do I really need that, or can I find something at home that might do just as well?
I’ve spent more time on the phone lately, pausing in my day to see how people I care about are doing.
But since Good Friday, when I saw the candles blow out – symbolizing the death of Jesus Christ, and the Dark Pause that the world fell into after Jesus died, before his resurrection – I have been thinking about how this Great Pause we are in may be a Dark Pause for many people.
For years, I’ve been blessed to be able to store up what my family might need for an unexpected time like this. We’ve saved for a rainy day – for a time we might need to pause.
However, at this moment, I’m seeing that for some people – many people – this is not a time to sit and calmly wait to see what happens. It’s a time of fear and distress. Many people in our world live in situations where daily wants are daily needs. They work hard each day to provide that day’s food for their family. If they don’t work that day, then they don’t eat that day. They have babies, children, and grandparents who depend on them.
Good Friday was a fasting day for me and thousands of other people. It was a day to pause in all our consumption and pray for help in the trouble of our world. As part of a fast, often there is a contribution made to help the poor and those in need. While the donation I made as part of my fast feels meager and small in the face of such tremendous need at this time, l can continue to pray that God will magnify the good of many small deeds, done by many ordinary people, to bless many lives, and possibly change the world for someone.
Because Good Friday, and a Dark Pause, and fasting aren’t just about going without. They are about reaching out to make an offering before God to love one another. They are about overcoming our own self-interest to help someone else.
And after the pause comes renewed life, hope, and light. We had Good Friday so we could have Easter.
Easter isn’t about bunnies, and candy, and eggs. It’s about the hope that a Dark Pause will end, because Jesus made a sacrifice that brought lasting light, and hope, and life to the world.
This Great Pause that we find ourselves in gives us all a chance to consider our sacrifice. It’s an opportunity to make an offering that could bring light, hope, and life to those who are suffering through a Dark Pause of their own.
This Easter I hope you are blessed, and I hope you are a blessing.