This is a first for me.

I've been a worship pastor for over 25 years, which means I've always been up and out the door early on Easter Sunday, heading to church well before my children wake up. Whatever traditions were observed at our house on Easter morning, I was never a part of them.

Now my children are all grown up and the allure of decorating eggs and hiding baskets has dissipated like the morning dew.

I am not leading worship at a church this Resurrection Sunday. In fact, most people reading this article will not be attending service with their church family for several more weeks. Our world has seemingly shut down in an attempt to fight off an insidious and deadly virus. The temporary loss of the 'gathered' or 'incarnated' community is a very heavy reality for so many - not to mention the loss of so many lives, and livelihoods, to COVID-19.

So here we are, recognizing our need to celebrate, but not quite sure how. Are we even aware of the trauma our souls feel as we envision an Easter celebration in this season of social distancing and quarantine?

Here is a prayer written four decades ago by Ted Loder. I hope you will take some time to read and reflect, to pause and to pray, to listen and to receive. May your heart be turned to celebration, not just on Easter Sunday, but continually, as you testify to the power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus!

I Praise You for This Resurrection Madness

Lord of such amazing surprises

  as put a catch in my breath

    and wings on my heart,

I praise you for this joy,

  too great for words

    but not for tears and songs and sharing;

for this mercy

  that blots out my betrayals

    and bids me begin again,

      to limp on,

        to hop-skip-and-jump on,

          to mend what is broken in and around me,

            and to forgive the breakers;

for this YES

  to life and laughter,

    to love and lovers,

      and to my unwinding self;

for this kingdom

  unleashed in me and I in it forever,

    and no dead ends to growing,

      to choices,

        to chances,

          to calls to be just;

    no dead ends to living,

      to making peace,

        to dreaming dreams,

          to being glad of heart;

for this resurrection madness

  which is wiser than I

    and in which I see

      how great you are,

        how full of grace,

          Alleluia!

(Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle (20th Anniversary Ed.). ©1981, Fortress Press, 129.)

“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all.” (Acts 4:33 NIV)