Celebrating in a Pandemic?

Easter Sunday is my favourite. Every year, I go with a small group of people from my church to a dawn service run by by our friends at Spark Church, before we go to our own CRAVE church service.

Until 2020 that is.

When the coronavirus epidemic came, public gatherings were cancelled, and I felt stuck about how to celebrate Easter properly.

I had a lightbulb moment when I heard my friends at Church in Progress were replacing their annual Good Friday supper with a live-stream cooking show from their Facebook page! They showed everyone how to make the special carrot, lentil and cumin soup that they share on this special day.

“Easter is not cancelled”, was the slogan they used for this event.

I made a call and asked if our churches could collaborate. Many of us in Sydney learned how to make the soup. Then on Easter Sunday, I shared my own favourite Easter breakfast in another livestream on our social media: a toasted, hot-cross bun ice-cream sandwich. Decadent, and (I feel) a worthy way to celebrate the triumph of life over death.

It’s so important that we find ways to celebrate important moments during these isolated times. A ritual can be done in private, but traditionally, major transitions and milestones in life call for witnesses. Birthdays, weddings, graduations, carry more weight when loved ones stand with us, acknowledging the joys and losses that come from change.

If you’re celebrating an important occasion in isolation, think about finding ways to include witnesses. Maybe on social media, in a Zoom meeting, or a conference call. If you don’t know how to set one up, you probably know someone who can.

Just think of the potential freedom this gives you. Nobody will know if you have five different parties. You can have a special meeting for your more polite friends and family, and another one for more loud, boisterous people. Or one intimate cocktail party with toasts at 5 p.m., and then a larger party for dessert and coffee at 7:30.

It’s also a chance to invite people who are overseas, or unable to travel much; people who you lost touch with, or moved to another city. Celebrations aren’t cancelled during a pandemic, they just call for a little more creativity.