Easter is a lot different this year.
While it is typically one of a couple of days out of the year when church buildings are full, this year they will be basically empty, other than pastors who are broadcasting live on social media from their pulpits.
One well-known televangelist got a jump on Holy Week with a Facebook Live broadcast on Thursday, April 2 that should have eliminated the coronavirus before Easter Sunday. Texas-based prosperity preacher Kenneth Copeland called forth a “supernatural heatwave” on that day to kill COVID-19 in New York City and “the rest of the world where it’s needed.” I’ve got a newsflash for Mr. Copeland; it’s needed everywhere at this point.
Copeland also laughed during his talk as he said, “it’s even better if there is no wind at all … just enough heat to keep from killing them people in New York City.” Newsflash No. 2 for Ken; health officials have said heat and humidity having the ability to kill the virus is a myth.
A few minutes later, Copeland literally blew “the wind of God” into the camera and said the virus is “gone forever.” Here’s another newsflash; It’s not gone forever. It has grown globally since then.
I grew up in a subculture of Christianity that was very similar to the “smoke and mirrors” presentation of knowledge from God that Copeland likes to brag that he has. It is a dangerous theology any time, but it is particularly dangerous during a global pandemic. We can’t snap our fingers like Thanos and eliminate this threat. Copeland knows that, but he puts on a great show, much like a carnival barker, and he rakes in the dollars to the tune of a net worth of around $850 million.
If blowing some hot air into a camera lens doesn’t defeat COVID-19, and we can’t just snap our fingers, say “The Lord’s Prayer,” and do the hokey pokey to get rid of it, how can we defeat this monster that is affecting not only Easter Sunday, but just about every aspect of our lives at this point?
“Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.”
That sentence, uttered by Jesus in the Book of John, is how we defeat any global issue. That statement is Easter. It brings hope. It should be a statement that brings hope to not only millions of Christians, but to the entire population of the planet, no matter what, if any, spiritual allegiance they may have. That sentence isn’t theology. It is what makes us truly human. It is unconditional love that puts others before us. It is a statement that simply says, “You have incredible worth, and you matter to me just because you matter to me.”
That type of love is something that is actually supernatural. It is mystical. It is good news.
I’ve seen that lived out in Jasper in recent weeks.
Others matter enough that people will volunteer every day to make sure families are getting food for their children.
Others matter enough that a business would attempt to take the Easter bunny to neighborhoods just to make children smile.
Others matter enough that people take time out of their day to show their appreciation for medical personnel and other essential workers in a variety of ways.
Others matter enough that we stay at our homes as much as possible until the curve flattens.
Others matter. We love others. That’s a mighty wind, or maybe a mighty win.
James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.