This last year has felt a lot like death.
We’ve had a pandemic sweep the world, and in this country had our leaders fail to lead, instead spreading rumors and assigning blame. Hundreds of thousands are unnecessarily dead. We’ve necessarily stayed cut off from work, family, friends, school, church, and travel plans to protect ourselves and each other. It feels a lot like death.
We left our church last year. This year I‘ve been watching as the evangelical church in America consistently chooses the hope of political power over truth and justice. Chooses to side with abusers rather than victims. Chooses to marginalize women in the name of Biblical literalism. Chooses to persecute LGBTQIA people rather than love and accept them. Chooses “personal freedom” rather than taking basic steps to protect others amid the pandemic. It feels a lot like death.
In August last year we had a derecho destroy our city. The majority of our tree canopy is gone. Everyone had house damage. Our power was out for almost two weeks. Eight months later, I don’t have to drive further than my own street to see houses still missing siding and fences, roofs with tarps where shingles should be. In my own yard where three old friendly trees once stood, all that remains are ragged scars and chips left by a hurried stump grinder. It feels a lot like death.
There are other stories too personal to post. Stories that aren’t mine to tell. Stories that have kept us awake at night, on the floor in desperation, in helpless gnawing realization of things that aren’t alright. That has often felt a lot like death.
This is the first Easter in my memory that I haven’t been to church to celebrate. That, too, feeels like death.
Somehow, through all this, Jesus still holds on to me. I don’t know how. Even after I put away the fear wrought by legalism, after the habits are ripped away, after the culture that taught me Jesus for 40 years has turned from Him in the name of power and freedom, Jesus is still there. Faithfully loving and sustaining me. Faithfully promising that, in the end, this mess will be redeemed.
In this year that has felt a lot like death I will cling to the hope that Jesus is risen. Somehow, He feels a lot like life.