Pandemic Ponderings Pascha—One Year Later
by Mother Christophora [Matychak]
During the pandemic, I have often heard people refer to this as “a crazy time.” Or they say that we are living in “a crazy world” now. Others refer to the pandemic in general as “all this craziness.”
I have never felt comfortable with that word or description. I wanted to say that this is not a crazy time. The world God created is lovely and beautiful—not crazy. Maybe we are crazy. Maybe our society was already crazy before the pandemic. But I don’t think that any perceived craziness will simply go away when the pandemic becomes history.
I did a search of the Bible for the word “crazy,” and it does not appear, not even once. Then I thought: Perhaps the word “mad” is used in Scripture. So I searched that word and found it only seven times in the whole Bible.
Almost always, the word “mad” referred to a person, not to the world or society. One interesting exception can be found during the destruction of Babylon in Jeremiah 51:6¬¬–7, which reads:
“Flee from the midst of Babylon;
let every one save his life!
Be not cut off in her punishment,
for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance,
the repayment he is rendering her.
Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand,
making all the earth drunken;
the nations drank of her wine;
therefore the nations went mad.”
If people see our time, this pandemic time, as a crazy time, what do they actually mean?
Is it because we can’t just go here and there,
Is it because we feel that
“They” have taken away “Our human rights”
(If we even ever had them),
Because we can’t gather in groups,
Or because we are required to wear masks?
Is it because plans have been curtailed,
And events canceled?
Is it a crazy time because our financial resources
Or dried up,
And “secure” jobs have been lost?
Is it because people died
Without saying goodbye,
Without loved ones being near,
Without proper funerals and burials?
Is it because even strong and healthy ones
Weakened by this unseen enemy?
Is it because we can’t visit family and friends,
Hug our grandkids,
Gather for graduations, celebrations, and marriages?
Is it crazy because schools were closed,
Bands practiced on split-screen,
Clubs met online,
And doctors diagnosed over video chat?
Is it crazy because churches were shuttered,
Services were canceled or streamed,
Communion became virtual, rather than physical,
And monasteries locked their gates?
Indeed, we have much to grieve,
Much to regret,
Much to heal.
And much to fulfill, and refill.
Yet, we discovered the Lord was not in the wind.
He was not in the earthquake.
He was not in the fire.
But He came, a still small voice.
He came to each one of us,
In our own quiet solitude,
In our social isolation,
In the inner chamber of our hearts,
In our rooms, once we had shut the door.
Last year it was there,
Where we were forced to flee,
Where we met Christ,
When we followed Him in our own painful isolation,
And the abandonment of Holy Friday;
Where we came to search for Him
In the oh, so very empty tomb,
Of our own hearts that Pascha night of the Pandemic.
But never were we separated from Christ;
No matter how lonely we were,
No matter how empty the tomb of our hearts,
And the nave of our churches.
Yes, in the long, endless, isolated hours of Holy Week,
And behind those locked doors of Pascha night,
It was Christ Who came to us!
It was Christ with Whom we broke bread that night.
And it was Christ Who said, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, even so I send you!”
And eight days later,
When Thomas demanded the physical proofs—
To touch with his hands, to see with his eyes—
Jesus asked, “Have you believed
Because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!”
As others walked and discussed
All that had happened in those days,
He, Jesus, walked with them.
He listened to their grief.
He felt their trauma.
It was He Who broke the bread and opened their eyes,
So that their hearts burned!
A crazy world?
No. Not with the Lord.
He asks us, “Have you anything to eat?”
Yes, we have seen, and we have tasted,
How good the Lord is!
We are not alone.
We have not been alone!
He has opened our eyes to see His face.
He is among us, in us, and with us.
Yes, indeed, Christ is among us!
He is and ever shall be!
And let us follow Him again this year,
On whatever road He leads,
And whatever path He demands.
As in each year that has already passed,
Let us follow Him,
To His Passion, and to
His Holy Third-day Resurrection!
“And unto us He has given eternal life.
Let us worship His Resurrection on the third day!”