Christians celebrate Easter, express appreciation for opportunity to attend services in-person

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Austin Guo

For Catholic and senior Michael Wolf, Easter Sunday will consist of many of the same activities that he would do under normal circumstances. However, the way his church, St. Elizabeth Seton, will conduct those events will differ due to safety concerns during the COVD-19 pandemic.

“We are to the point where we are able to provide the same Masses and same occurrences at the church, but we are live streaming all of them to make it more accessible for those who do not want to come into the church for their own safety,” Wolf said. “We are doing drive-up communion on Easter Sunday. (We are) doing extra Masses on Easter Sunday so that people can spread out more when they come. Other than that, the schedule is the exact same as it has been in years past.”

Christians will celebrate Easter on April 4 this year, bringing to an end to Lent. Micah Davis, high school pastor at Northview Church, said Easter is one of the most important times of the year for Christians.

“Easter is the day that we recognize Jesus resurrecting from the grave … Easter is the day for us where we are able to recognize that and celebrate that. It is at the cornerstone of our faith – without the resurrection of Jesus, our faith falls apart,” Davis said. “It’s something that for us is pivotal to the foundation of all that we believe in.”

Davis said Northview will be holding less services this year due to safety concerns.

“This year, we’re only doing seven gatherings, which is still a lot, but certainly not 13 or 14 like we did two years ago. Part of that is just because there are a lot of people who have still not come back into the building due to COVID.” 

Additionally, Davis said Northview would be holding some services online this year.

Davis said, “The other part that is changed is we used to do Easter services on Friday night, which is also called Good Friday. It’s the day we observe Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Last year, for the first time ever, we did an online Good Friday service that went over so well that this year, we’re doing that again.”

These Easter services are markedly different from what churches had to last year, when lockdowns first began. Mormon and junior Nolan Jones said his congregation had different plans.

“When COVID first happened, we just didn’t go at all. They closed down the churches, and up until they could finally safely plan controlled meetings, we weren’t able to go into church,” Jones said, adding “There just weren’t any meetings because nobody was in the church to conduct the meeting.

Micah Davis, high school pastor for Northview Church, preaches during a service. Davis said Northview will be conducting less Easter gatherings this year due to safety precautions, with one service being held entirely online.

Wolf said he was very grateful to be able to go back to church in-person once restrictions began loosening.

He said, “The first Mass back was a breath of fresh air back into my life. It was a really uplifting moment to get a feeling that we will go back to normal and it really isn’t the end of the world anymore.”

Wolf said that being able to go back to church in-person after not being able to attend services strengthened his belief.

Wolf said, “I don’t think it has changed how I view my faith, but it has definitely changed how close I am with my faith. Before everything happened, I was definitely growing away from God, definitely stretching the relationship as much as I possibly could. Lockdowns, as much as I hate to say it, have definitely brought me closer solely because I realized how much I took for granted being able to be in the physical presence of God every single week.”

Overall, Davis said Easter is a story of hope with highly relevant and impactful lessons for believers.

“The story of Easter is the story of hope. When Jesus died on the cross, he had these 12 disciples who were following him. Jesus for three years talked about this kingdom to come. He talked about how he was the Son of God, that he was God in human form … (When Jesus) died on the cross, it was the biggest disappointment of their lives. They thought that Jesus had let them down,” Davis said. 

“When he resurrected from the grave and came back to life, not only was it a shock and wonder (because of) the pure fact that he defeated death, but the fact that he was who he said he was, that he was the Son of God. All that to say that story of hope, of dead things coming to life, of darkness being turned into light, all of those messages are really resonating with people because people are coming out of or are still in a season of immense darkness and loneliness. The story of Jesus is one of hope, that with him, all things are possible.”

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