Thoughts on turning 69

It seems that every woman has a birthday she dreads; an age that she has trouble accepting. For me, that age was 60. The whole time I was 59, I dreaded turning 60. It was such a big number and sounded so old, but then the day came and nothing really changed. It was just another day, another new beginning, and I’d wasted an entire year worrying about it!

Now, nine more years have passed and tomorrow I turn 69! My 60s have not been easy. They brought three different cancer diagnoses, relationship trauma, the death of both my parents, and now a worldwide pandemic, but through it all, I learned endurance, perseverance, and resilience. I also learned to live one day at a time.

Learning not to count on the future, but to see every day as a gift and a blessing, was a very valuable lesson. When I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer shortly before my 61st birthday, I really didn’t expect that I’d still be alive today. Four years later, I threw myself a “still alive at 65” birthday party and now, just one year short of 70, I’m still here and still going strong!

One thing I know that I won’t be doing when I’m 69 is wasting time worrying about turning 70. Instead, as long as God gives me life, I’m going to be busy living it to the fullest and doing my best to accomplish whatever it is that He is keeping me here to do!

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Blogging woes and cancer news

My beloved MacBook Air is getting old; old enough that I’m not able to update to a newer browser. Recently, whenever I opened WordPress to check my stats or work on a post, I received a message telling me that I was using an unsupported browser. Until earlier this week, however, I was able to click through to the appropriate page and work as usual. Then came the fateful day when all that I could open was a blank page with the WordPress logo in the centre!

As I usually do when something goes wrong in my blogging world, I fired off a cry for help to WordPress support and hoped for the best. They’ve never let me down yet, but while I wait to find out what they can or can’t do for me, I’m typing this on my husband’s computer. Not easy! Mine is a Mac, but his is not. The keyboard is a different size and my fingers don’t know what to do. Things jump around when I’m not expecting them to and then there’s the issue of all my photos being on my computer and not knowing how to transfer them to his. With practice, I’m sure these things will get easier, but this is, at best, a very temporary solution! I’m hoping that I don’t have to invest in a new computer right now as mine still does everything else I want it to do, but I have to be able to blog!   

Now, for the other news… 

In mid August, I went through a series of tests and scans, as I do every six months, to determine whether or not there were any changes to my cancers. When the results became available online, I was concerned about a spike in one marker that is particularly significant to neuroendocrine cancer (NETS). Not only had the level increased dramatically, but it was now slightly above the normal range. Knowing that I had to wait several weeks to see the doctor for an explanation, my response was similar to when WordPress quit working. I called for support. I sent out a cry for help to eight godly women asking each of them to pray, not only that my cancer had not grown or spread, but also that I wouldn’t be anxious as I waited for answers. Almost immediately, an unnatural peace descended on me and I was able to go on without undue stress or anxiety. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

And now for the really good news… my cancer continues to be stable and the doctor has no concerns! Though the spike in that one marker looked concerning to me, she assured me that it would have to be much higher before it was anything to worry about. Praise the Lord!

The last ten

When I sat down to write this evening, my initial plan had been to start working on this Friday’s fashion post, but something else has been weighing on my mind and I decided to go in that direction instead. I’ve written about the Christian and social media before, but tonight that’s where I found myself going again.

I’ve been using Facebook since December 2007. We were about to leave for a year-long teaching assignment in Japan and our daughter insisted that I had to have Facebook as a way of staying in touch. In fact, she actually created my account and chose my first password and profile picture! She was right. In those days, Facebook was a great way to connect with friends and family. We enjoyed exchanging news and posting photos of our families and our daily lives. I even reconnected with a few people that I had completely lost touch with over the years.

Over time, however, Facebook has morphed into something very different than it was in those early days. I don’t mind the proliferation of ads on my Newsfeed because I realize that very little in life is free and someone has to pay for this platform. No, it’s not the ads that bother me, it’s the negativity, the anger, and the misinformation. Gone are the days when people annoyed one another or flirted with one another by “poking” each other on Facebook. Now, many use social media to lash out at one another or to hurl insults at those who disagree with them. Instead of sharing our lives, we try to prove each other wrong.

So, what does the Christian do? Can we be salt and light on social media or would we be better to avoid it altogether? These were the questions that I was wrestling with in late January when I learned of a free 10-day challenge called Instagram for Jesus. Offered by an online women’s ministry called Well-Watered Women, the challenge is simply a series of 10 short emails designed to help users of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok examine their motives for using social media and the potential that it holds, as well as set life-giving boundaries. If this sounds like something that might be of interest to you, check it out and sign up here.

If I had to choose the one thing that impacted me most from the 10 short messages, it was this recommendation from Day 8, “Scroll through your last ten posts, and ask yourself what a follower would know about you through those images and words. Consider opportunities to shift that understanding to a clearer image of what it means to walk as a sinner saved by grace.” Even if you’re not a Christ-follower, that first sentence is worth considering. What do your last ten posts tell the world about you? Is that the image you want to portray? If you are a believer, is this how you’re called to represent Christ to the world? If not, what are you going to do about it? For me, the simple practice of looking at my last ten posts, which I’ve been doing from time to time since completing the challenge in February, has been an excellent way to ensure that I’m being the kind of online presence that I want to be. 

Shot of an unrecognizable young woman working on her laptop at home

International Women’s Day 2021

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Today is International Women’s Day. It saddens me that we should even need to set aside a day to focus on women’s rights, to remind the world that women deserve equality. It was never meant to be this way. 

I’ve been focusing a lot on what the Bible has to say about womanhood in recent weeks as I’ve started leading a ladies Bible study on women of the Bible. The very first statement about women in the Bible comes in the first chapter of Genesis. Verses 27-31 say: 

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. 

Do you see what I see? First of all, we’re told that God created men and women in His own image! Both were meant to be His image bearers. Second, He gave both of them dominion over and responsibility for His creation. It was a joint assignment. God did not give men dominion over women! That was never His intention. And finally, God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. His plan was equality for men and women and it was very good

In chapter 2 of Genesis we’re given a more detailed creation story. Verse 18 says, “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The King James Version of the Bible uses the words help meet to describe the woman’s role. “Meet” is an archaic adjective meaning suitable or proper, so the phrase simply means a suitable helper. Perhaps this is where the idea that men should dominate came from, but that was never God’s intent. In the original language, the word translated as helper or help meet was ezer. Ezer is a word that appears 21 times in the Old Testament; twice in Genesis for the woman, 3 times for nations to whom Israel appealed for military aid, and 16 times to refer to God as Israel’s helper, their shield and defence. It was used consistently in a military context. That hardly brings to mind a meek or subservient helper! Perhaps strong helper would be a better translation. 

Sadly, God’s plan for a partnership between men and women didn’t play out in human history. It didn’t take long for the relationship to deteriorate to the point where women were simply possessions of their fathers or husbands, barely a step above their livestock. Their primary role was to serve the men in their lives and to produce sons to carry on their husband’s family line. 

These may be radical thoughts for a woman who attends a patriarchal church, but I’ve always been a bit of a rebel and women’s issues have been a passion of mine for a very long time. The reality is that we need to do much more than set aside one day a year to draw attention to the plight of women worldwide. It is something that needs to be addressed 365 days of the year! 

As long as there are places on this planet where parents sell their daughters because they can’t afford to feed them, where girls walk an average of 6 kilometres a day to collect clean water for their households, where they are denied education, where they are forced to undergo female genital mutilation and/or forced into child marriage, we must do more than celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women on International Women’s Day. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the atrocities inflicted on women in foreign lands when they aren’t happening in our own backyard, but there are women living in abject poverty in Canada, the United States, and other developed countries. Objectifying and exploiting women is still alive and well in our culture. Violence against women is still prevalent. Human trafficking happens in our own neighbourhoods.  

Though the situation may have improved over the years, women have yet to achieve equality in the workplace. As a current example, women are at the forefront of the battle against Covid-19 as front-line and health sector workers, scientists, doctors and caregivers, yet according to a UN report, they get paid 11 percent less globally than their male counterparts!  

What, then, can we do to press for progress for women? First of all, we need to educate ourselves, to look beyond our comfortable lives and become aware of what the issues are and which reputable organizations are working to change them. If you’re serious about wanting to have an impact on the lives of women around the world, I would suggest that you begin by reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This book was a life changer for me. Kristof and WuDunn are upfront and clear; they hope to recruit their readers to get involved, to become a part of a movement to emancipate and empower women by helping provide the economic resources that can help transform their lives.  Half the Sky not only inspires the reader to get involved, it gives many suggestions how.

It was after reading Half the Sky that I began making micro loans to women in third world countries through Kiva, the world’s first online micro-lending platform. It’s one small step, but it’s something I can do. Kiva is a non-profit organization that allows a person to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in one of 77 countries around the world. When a loan is repaid, the money can be withdrawn or used to fund a new loan. I choose to lend to women with children at home. All too often, money in the hands of men goes to alcohol and prostitution but in the hands of women, it nurtures children, feeds families and promotes education.

It’s International Women’s Day. What will you do? 

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One Word for 2021

For the past few years I’ve chosen one word to inspire or guide me in the coming year as well as a scripture verse to go along with it. There’s actually a whole #OneWord365 movement on the internet urging members to choose a word to focus on every day, all year long; a word that sums up who they want to be or how they want to live.

My one word for 2020 was Bold. I wanted the boldness of the early disciples who shared their faith in spite of great opposition. I wanted the courage to confront injustice and stand up for the downtrodden. I wanted to boldly speak up for what I believed in or knew to be true. That led me to my one word for 2021.

Truth

The dictionary defines truth as that which is in accordance with fact or reality.

There seems to be very little of that going around these days! In fact, fake news, propaganda, and false information seem to spread faster than Covid-19! I have an insatiable desire to grow in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; to know the truth about anything that affects my life. Perhaps it’s simply a reaction to having been the victim of lies and deception in the past, but I abhor falsehood of any kind.   

When I see something online that I’m unsure about or that doesn’t sound right to me, I check the facts and, in accordance with my desire to speak the truth with boldness, I often post my findings in the form of a comment or a link. This hasn’t always been popular. In fact, one acquaintance called me the “resident fact checker” in an online discussion. She clearly didn’t mean it as a compliment, but I fail to see how seeking and speaking the truth could be anything but good! Thankfully, others have expressed appreciation either online or in person and I’ve even been approached a couple of times by people looking for help in checking the validity of something they’ve read or been told. 

We live in a day of relativism; the idea that you can have your truth and I can have mine. That isn’t actually truth at all; that’s belief or opinion. Unfortunately, belief doesn’t create fact. Truth is independent of belief. Being able to discern between fact and opinion, between news and editorial, between truth and belief, is a very important skill.  American politician, sociologist, and diplomat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was quoted as saying, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” 

Accepting that absolute truth exists is an essential foundation of Christianity. God was very clear in the Bible that what He revealed was truth. In John 14:6, Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s either true or it isn’t. It can’t be true for some and not for others. 

There are many other Bible verses about truth, so choosing one to accompany my one word for 2021 was challenging. I finally settled on 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

That’s what I want to focus on in 2021, correctly handling the truth. Not just Biblical truth, but all truth. 

Have you ever chosen a word to inspire or guide you in a new year? What would your word for 2021 be?

truth

The Four

Occasionally a piece of art speaks to my heart. That was certainly true of The Four by American artist, Tricia Robinson, when I saw it for the first time yesterday. 

The Four - Tricia Robinson art

No, I wasn’t in an art gallery! Covid restrictions continue to keep me locked up at home. I actually saw the painting on Facebook! It was the vibrant colours and the simplicity of the figures that first caught my attention, but the artist’s description gave it much deeper meaning.

These four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba have something in common. They are grandmothers in Jesus’ family tree! Grandmothers! Some had affairs, were prostitutes, lied and were truly not the starry eyed perfect princesses.

But God chose them, used them…. These four broken women. 

And that’s why I gave them crowns. A symbol of grace and love from our Creator and Redeemer.

Christian author, Ann Voskamp, wrote this on her blog

Four broken ­women—​­
women who felt like outsiders,
like ­has-​­beens,
like ­never-​­beens.

Women who were weary
of being taken advantage of, 

of being unnoticed
and uncherished
and unappreciated;

women who didn’t fit in, 
who didn’t know how to keep going, 
what to believe, 
where to ­go—​­
women who had thought about giving up.

And Jesus claims exactly these who are
wandering
and wondering
and wounded
and worn out as
His.

These four women can be found in the pages of the Old Testament and all are part of the genealogy of Jesus found in the first chapter of the book of Matthew. Widowed at a young age and rejected by her second husband who also suffered an early death, Tamar, was left husbandless and without children. In her culture that made her worthless. Taking matters into her own hands, through an act of deception, she bore twin sons by her father-in-law who later admitted that “she is more righteous than I.” After Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, spies were sent into the land of Canaan and found lodging with a prostitute named Rahab. After risking her life to hide them, Rahab asked that her life and the lives of her family be spared when the Israelites invaded. In the painting, she can be seen holding the scarlet cord that she was told to tie in the window of her home to mark it. Everyone inside the house would be spared. Another young widow, Ruth, left her homeland and her pagan gods to follow her aging mother-in-law back to her homeland where she would be a foreigner and an object of curiosity. She worked tirelessly gleaning in the fields at harvest time to provide for them until she was noticed by the landowner and became his wife. She eventually became the great grandmother of King David. Bathsheba suffered untold grief when the king, in an attempt to cover up an act of lust that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, arranged to have her first husband murdered and then took her as his own wife. I can only imagine how much worse her grief became when the child of that union died. Her second son became the great King Solomon.

Yes, these were imperfect, broken women; women who’s lives didn’t go the way of little girls’ dreams, but they are also women who were cherished by God. I can identify. When I saw the painting and understood it’s meaning, I wanted to order a print to hang in my den, my room of prayer. Unfortunately, the artist doesn’t ship to Canada, so I will have to be satisfied with having it on my computer desktop where I can look at it often and be reminded that though, I too, am somewhat flawed and have been damaged by the trials of life, I am a beloved daughter of the one true God!

Where do you find comfort?

If there was ever a time in most of our lives when we craved comfort, this is probably it. The combination of the upcoming holiday season + a worldwide pandemic is bound to be stressful. For many of us, the shorter, darker days of winter add to our feelings of disquiet. It’s a universal human trait to seek comfort when life becomes difficult, but where do we find that comfort? What do we turn to?

You’ve probably heard people refer to their “Quarantine 15”. In a poll of more than 1,000 WebMD readers, nearly half of the women and almost one-quarter of the men said that they had gained weight since March. This trend is no surprise. Food is one of the most common sources of comfort that people turn to in times of stress. There’s even a physiological reason for this. Chronic or ongoing stress causes the body to produce higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which in turn triggers cravings for salty, sweet, or fried foods; foods that produce a burst of energy and pleasure.

Thankfully, this hasn’t been an issue for me. In fact, in times of distress I tend to lose my appetite. One of my main go tos for comfort is a cup of hot tea which is known to lower stress hormones. Since I drink my tea black, it has the added benefit of being calorie free.

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Soaking in a hot bath is another favourite source of comfort for me. There’s something about being surrounded by liquid warmth that soothes away anxiety and restores a sense of peace. Perhaps it’s reminiscent of returning to the womb! 

What are some other ways that you can comfort yourself, especially if you’re trying to avoid stress eating? Here are a few suggestions, but I’d love to hear your ideas in the comment section. 

  • Exercise. This one might be challenging if gyms and recreational facilities are closed in your area, but it goes hand in hand with the next suggestion. 
  • Spend time outdoors. 
  • Listen to music.
  • Do something creative… paint, sketch, knit, crochet, sew, embroider… the options are almost endless.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Practice mindfulness. Focus on whatever you’re doing at the moment. Notice the sights, sounds, and scents that surround you. 
  • Escape into fiction. Watch a movie or read a book. 
  • Work on a jigsaw, crossword, or sudoku puzzle.
  • Savour the routines in your life. If life seems chaotic, work on establishing some routines and focus on the comfort that you receive from that first cup of coffee in the morning, a regular devotional or prayer time, a few minutes of quiet reading or contemplation after work.  

We are living in tumultuous times and there seems to be no end in sight. We can’t see the big picture and have no idea how all this is going to work out for us individually or globally, but there is One who does know. Ultimately, true comfort is to be found in faith in God. Scripture is full of words of comfort. 

2 Corinthians 1-3-4

What is freedom?

As the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 drag on, I’m seeing more and more on social media from people who are convinced that this is all a nefarious plot to permanently rob us of our rights and freedoms. These are people who, like me, have lived privileged lives; people who have no idea what true lack of freedom looks or feels like.

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photo: The Guardian

In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed and the iron curtain ceased to exist, Eastern Europeans jubilantly celebrated the freedom that they had long been denied. Sadly, however, some of the first “freedoms” to be exercised in these formerly communist countries were indulgence in pornography, prostitution, drugs, and organized crime. So what is freedom? According to many, it seems to be the right to do whatever I want, whenever I want, to whomever I want. How incredibly self-indulgent!

Freedom means many things to many people. It may mean having the opportunity to vote for the ideas, people, or parties that best represent our views. It may mean being able to freely express our ideas and opinions without fear of reprisal. To some it may mean being free of debt and having the financial wherewithal to buy whatever they want. To others it may simply mean being able to live without constant fear of violence or persecution.

Is being told to social distance or to wear a mask to enter certain businesses really robbing anyone of these rights and freedoms? Are temporary school closures and having to worship online instead of in person really endangering society as we know it? I hardly think so!

During the current pandemic, those of us who are willing to temporarily give up some of our freedoms for the good of the community and who dare to suggest that others ought to do the same run the risk of being labelled socialist. That’s an insult that’s commonly hurled about by those who fear that their freedoms are being forever taken from them. I pay it little mind, however, as they clearly aren’t political scientists!

The Bible has a lot to say about freedom. In fact, it’s one of the central themes of the entire Word. John 8:32 tells us that “the truth will set you free” and later, in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” True freedom is found in relationship with Him.

This freedom is both freedom from and freedom to. Freedom from the things of this world that enslave us: earthly desires for wealth, success, and status; jealousy and envy; lust and perversion; rivalry and hatred. Freedom to be everything that we were designed to be, to do what we were made to do, and to serve God by serving others. Galatians 5:13-14 sums it up this way, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'”

So how does this apply to Covid-19? Like true Biblical freedom, our political and social freedoms are also responsibilities. They don’t exist so that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want. They exist for the good of the whole. Freedom provides opportunity and reason to serve whether by delivering groceries to doorsteps, making phone calls to ensure that neighbours and friends are faring well, sewing masks, or simply practicing social distancing and keeping our school and church doors closed until the threat of spreading the virus has lessened.

I don’t hide behind rose coloured glasses nor do I blindly believe that everything that our political leaders do is for our good, but I also don’t believe that Covid-19 is an evil plot to permanently rob us of our rights and freedoms!

National Post

photo: National Post

At least these ones are social distancing!

 

Fear and Covid-19

Yesterday’s post generated a very lengthy discussion on Facebook. As the conversation went on it became very clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a great deal of fear. I found it very interesting that people were not expressing fear of the disease itself. No one talked about being afraid of succumbing to the virus or even of loved ones getting sick. Instead, they expressed fear that a vaccine, once discovered, will be forced on people against their will, fear that churches, now closed, might not be allowed to reopen, fear of economic collapse, and fear that our personal freedoms are being eroded and that we’re headed down the same road as Nazi Germany. It seems to me that what people are really afraid of is change, the unknown, what life will look like when this is all over.

Some of the fears that were expressed in yesterday’s conversation may seem pretty far-fetched, but I don’t want to make light of anyone’s fears. Fear is real and it can be debilitating. It feeds upon itself and it isn’t necessarily logical or realistic. After all, the author of fear is the great deceiver himself. The Bible calls him Satan.

I once preached an entire sermon on living without fear, but in a nutshell, the antidote to fear is trust. When we put our trust in our jobs, our institutions, our relationships, our rights and freedoms, what happens when those things are stripped away? That’s what we’re finding out now.

Our devotional this morning came from Proverbs 16. The second half of verse 20 jumped out at me like a flashing neon light… “blessed is he that trusts in the Lord.” When everything in life is like shifting sand, He is the one and only constant. Total trust in God is the only true remedy for fear.

The Bible is full of admonitions not to fear.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

In these uncertain times, when trusting in the things that we usually depend on fails us, we need to trust in the only One who knows what the final outcome will be, the One who will still be with us when Covid-19 is a distant memory.

The Bible also tells us that “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). As human beings, we may not be capable of perfect love, but we are certainly capable of reaching out to others in love even while we social distance. While the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in fear for many, they have also brought out the best in others. Whether it be singing and waving signs outside the windows of a long term care centre, dropping fresh baking on a neighbour’s doorstep, picking up and delivering groceries for someone who is self-isolating, planning a drive by birthday parade for a child who can’t have a traditional party, or just taking the time to pick up the phone and call someone who’s living alone, people are finding creative ways to reach out in love. Maybe, hopefully, this world will actually be a kinder place when this is over!

So if you’re feeling afraid, don’t just hunker down with your fear and let it fester. Trust in God and reach out in love. And if you’re truly feeling overcome, please reach out and ask for help.

Why is it so hard?

As I’ve seen the news about pastors, like Rev. Tony Spell in Louisiana, who are insisting on their “right” to hold Easter services in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have to ask why is it so hard to obey stay-at-home orders that have been put in place to protect the lives of the vulnerable; the very people that churches profess to care about? Why is it so hard?

I fully understand people wanting to be with family and to take part in their traditional Easter celebrations. I’d love to be with my kids and grandkids too, but I’ve been pondering why we do what we do and why we think we need to. Nowhere in scripture are we commanded to gather together for Easter (other than the instruction not to give up meeting together in Hebrews 10:25 which, thankfully, we’re able to do virtually) or given any instructions about how to celebrate the resurrection. These are manmade traditions. Perhaps a quiet, at home Easter without all those extras is not a bad thing. Perhaps it’s a time for us to reflect in a more intentional way on the real meaning of the event which is not bunnies, eggs, and chocolate. It isn’t even necessarily going to church!

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the ways we usually celebrate Easter, but just this once, it’s okay to do things differently. In fact, we need to do things differently! As the church, we need to be obedient to the Word of God which tells us in several places to obey those in positions of authority over us. Romans 13:1 tells us, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Regardless of what people like Rev. Spell proclaim, we are called to obey those who put the current social distancing regulations in place! Why is that so hard?

I’m reminded of the two Easters that we spent in non Christian countries. In Japan, we did attend a Christian church and celebrated Easter there, but outside the walls of the church, there was no recognition of Easter at all. In China, where we weren’t part of any Christian organization, I’ll always remember that we went out for dinner with a couple of our college students on Easter Sunday and ate roast duck and bullfrog! Not frog’s legs, the whole frog! It was delicious, but I digress! At the end of that day, I wrote this and I think it applies as well to our current situation as it did then.

“Easter isn’t really about what we eat or who we spend the day with. Whether we’re with family around a table laden with ham and all the trimmings or in a shopping mall in China eating bullfrog, as Christians, Easter is at the centre of who we are and what we believe.”