Last year, our church celebrated Easter with a drive-in Easter service. In-person gatherings were not an option, but not gathering at all was not an option either. After weeks of planning—which felt generous in some ways, since most of our planning was on the fly while we adjusted to shifting health and safety guidelines last spring—we made it to Easter morning.
A Socially Distant Easter
On that day, our church drove into a local recreational center parking lot and celebrated our risen Savior. The local radio station was on-site to do a live broadcast of the service to the cars parked for worship. A team of volunteers had created a stage so everyone could see the pastors leading worship. A small team of musicians was socially distanced in a tent to the side of the stage to lead everyone in songs throughout the service. Our elders had been repurposed to the parking team, making sure every car was in place.
That morning, I got my toddlers dressed, and we loaded into our minivan to join everyone. We ate snacks and read books in the back while we waited for the service to begin. Once it did, all three of us crammed into the front two seats so we could see what was going on where my husband, one of the pastors, was leading worship. And just when it seemed that our Easter morning couldn’t be more different, it started to snow. We joined our church in honking our car horns instead of saying alleluia. We cheered when it was Dad’s turn to talk. We ate Easter treats and honked some more whenever a chorus of other cars was excited. We waved at church friends in the cars parked next to us.
What I love most about remembering that Easter morning is the reminder of how, by faith, we are connected to the Body of Christ, whether we are sitting in a church pew or worshiping from the front seat of our minivan. In gathering as God’s people, we joined the community of Christians throughout all time—Christians who have gathered for worship in many ways and many places and many circumstances.
I’ve recently found myself drawn to Hebrews 11. I’ve always known Hebrews 11 for the great list of how God’s people lived by faith. But through our new circumstances, I have found another beautiful theme— Hebrews 11 also commemorates people who were determined to worship in many and various ways. Noah worshiped on an ark after the whole world had been destroyed. Moses worshiped outside, next to a bush, and then later on top of a mountain. Enoch was still living when he was taken up into the realms of heavenly worship. Hebrews 11 and our time worshiping outside in our minivan reminds me of one important thing: our worship home is not in our church building but it is at the throne of the Lamb. This became so evident as we honked our alleluias last Easter morning. How beautiful it is that God has woven into His story a people who are determined to worship!
Worship Changes; God Is Constant
This year, we are able to worship with limited seating capacity, extra services, preregistration, masking, and social distancing in-person at our church. My toddlers, at ages four and two, are young enough that I think this may be the first Easter they will remember. Last year, they knew we didn’t usually go to church in our car but definitely would not have remembered their previous Easter worshiping with family at their grandpa and grandma’s church. As they continue to grow and make memories, I am looking forward to sharing with them the history of what worship has been like in their lives—how it has changed, how it has stayed the same, but most of all, how the faith they have been given through their Baptism has united them with the communion of saints, which has always been determined to worship in many and various ways.
As we turn to God’s Word this month, we are going to walk through Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And the rest of the chapter goes on to recount the faith and experiences of many who have gone before us. However you are worshiping this season, know that you are in good company—many of whom are listed in Hebrews 11. Know you are part of God’s story of worship that He has woven together. But more than that, know that this Easter, Jesus is still risen. He still reigns, we still have hope, and we are still His people.
Use the April Everyday Faith Calendar to study Hebrews 11 and learn more about the faith-filled people of God.