photo by Noah Buscher, unsplash

Since stay at home orders for the coronavirus, many of us are spending more time outdoors In order to get some exercise (and not go stir crazy). My husband and I have been walking around the block on weekdays and trying to get out for a hike on weekends. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’m also working in our yard more.

My daughter and her family have been doing much the same, but were surprised as they returned from a wonderful hike. A man flew out of his house next to the trailhead to scream at them, “Get off my property and keep your germs to yourself!”  They tried to point out they were not on his property and keeping a proper distance, but since this further incensed him they made a quick exit.

While most people are doing their best to keep a good attitude and show extra kindness through this pandemic, some are so terrified of coronavirus that the worst in them surfaces. Raw fear escalates into irrational thinking and bizarre behavior. Like this man—who exited the safety of his home to deliver a hate message to a couple walking a respectful distance away.

Others hide in their homes like hermits, not even going outside to get much needed fresh air and sunshine. Or they hide behind masks and cower if anyone comes near, as if others are intent on inflicting them with disease.

This makes me think of the message of Easter, and how people in Jesus’ day and now, react to the news that our God is alive! We’re not celebrating the bunny, or spring, or family get-togethers (especially not this year).  We rejoice because Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. And we want to tell the world, like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary did when they ran to tell the disciples that the Lord was alive. They urged them to, “Come and see!”

Some of the people we invite to come and hear about Jesus act as if Christianity is an infectious disease and go out of their way to speak against our message and us personally. Sometimes, like the man who ran from his house to yell at our kids, they go out of their way to insult us even when we haven’t done anything:

Don’t bring your Bible here!

Don’t pray in our schools, on our sports fields, or anywhere others might see you!

Don’t decorate your home or our public buildings with religious paraphernalia!

Don’t let your beliefs dictate how you run your business!

I have the right to choose what’s best for me (but I want you to vote for it/pay for it/and approve of my choices!)

The second group hides from the message of Christ, hoping they will not encounter believers who might infect them with their faith. They avoid any conversations that might slip into the no man’s land of religion, and hide from questions about eternity.

photo by Priscilla Du Preez, unsplash

Thankfully, however, there are still many who are willing to interact with kindness and patience, even toward Christians. I hope we will treat them with the love and respect Jesus taught us to.

After the first disciples saw Jesus alive, they invited others to “come and see” how He fulfilled every prophecy about the Messiah, and shared what it means to follow Him. Our message is still the same. While we have not seen Him in the flesh, we know Him by His Spirit and through His Word, recorded by first-hand witnesses to His resurrection and teaching.

This Easter, even though we who love Jesus cannot physically touch and invite others into our fellowship, I pray we will still invite others to “come” and get to know Him too. For now, that means email, Facebook, talking from our cars, on the phone, in group chats, and other creative ways people are finding to reach out while remaining socially distant.

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Come and see!

photo by Anuja Mary Tilj, unsplash