Empty Churches at Easter

Churches around the world were empty on Easter Sunday which is the holiest day of the Christian year. The simple but obvious reason was a global pandemic. As of Easter it had infected at least 2 million people and caused 118, 000 deaths. These are the known cases and deaths, so the figures are most likely higher. Authorities around the world gave orders for people to stay home and practice social distancing. With few exceptions people complied, resulting in empty churches at Easter.

Empty churches are usually not a good thing. The heavy wooden doors to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem were closed on Easter Sunday this year for the first time in 670 years. The last time this happened was in 1349 when the Black Death raged in the Middle East and Europe.

Empty Church and Empty Grave

Empty churches at Easter
Jesus' tomb - the Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem
Jesus’ tomb – the Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

The church was empty, just as the tomb inside it was empty on the original Easter morning. It remains empty to this day!

From empty churches all over the world clergy broadcast Easter services and messages to people at home so they could celebrate this important day. I don’t know how many people tuned in. Our family watched two and I took to social media to send out messages of Easter hope and faith. We also joined an impromtu gathering of Christians in our neighborhood for a short half-hour of songs, prayer and scripture reading from a neighbor’s front yard (we all practiced safe social distancing).

Rekindling Faith

I’m encouraged by these new expressions of faith. At the same time, I wonder who else felt a new or deeper connection to their faith. I sense that God is at work in all of this and we will see things moving in new directions in the weeks and months that follow.

Let the following scriptures encourage you: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever….Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking that which is to come.” Hebrews 13:8, 12-14

How are you growing in your faith? I suggest you commit to a plan for reading a portion of the Bible, join or deepen your involvement in a ministry of service to others, or listen to our podcast daily to grow closer to God.