LOOKING FOR THE HELPERS
By GRACE SOSA
For me, and I’m sure for many people, this will be the first Easter Sunday of my life that I will not be in church. Of course, we will watch our church’s service at home, but something will definitely be different. I have found much comfort in going through the COVID-19 epidemic during the season of Lent. This season has forced us all to give up so much—for many of us, our first true sense of material loss. But I have wondered how we can reconcile this difficult time during the joyful season of Easter. Is it genuine to celebrate when so many are suffering?
As a children’s minister, I have been navigating how to do ministry when I cannot be physically present with our kids. I have been making interactive videos for families to watch together, and the lesson for Easter is about how Jesus’ power means we don’t have to fear death. Even though I believe that statement, it was difficult for me to communicate that truth. Jesus conquered death, but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared of it; it doesn’t mean I’m not scared for my loved ones.
As I reminded our children, I remind us all that it is okay to wonder where God is. I’m sure the disciples wondered the same thing as they saw their teacher and Lord nailed to a cross. But as the lesson reminded us, we can see God moving in the actions of God’s people. In tragic times, Fred Rogers would say, “look for the helpers.” In every crisis, we can focus on the tragedy, or we can see God working through the people around us.
Every day, I am amazed by the generosity and compassion of the people around me. The Medical Mask Force of Abilene has united to create hundreds of masks for at-risk people in our community. Teachers have moved to online education with grace, creativity, and excellence. Businesses have begun to offer free resources to individuals and families—from free coloring sheets to free online yoga classes. Churches have found unique ways to reach out to their congregants—from digital services to drive-in church to offering Holy Week packets to help congregants worship at home. Celebrities like John Krasinski and Jimmy Fallon are using their time and influence to spread good news and support charity organizations. The government has reached out, offering stimulus packages to individuals and businesses and suspending loan interest. Even individuals who do nothing besides stay at home are helpers—choosing to do the hard thing to protect others.
As I look for the helpers, I see God’s presence once again. A prayer from Walter Brueggemann’s Prayers for a Privileged People has been especially meaningful to me in this time. He closes a prayer called “Easter us” in this way:
Easter us in joy and strength.
Be our God, be your true self, lord of life,
massively turn our life toward your life
and away from our anti-neighbor, anti-self deathliness.
Hear our thankful, grateful, unashamed Hallelujah!
Grace Sosa is coordinator for children’s ministry at First Central Presbyterian Church and a student at Logsdon Seminary