The Tomb is Empty

The Lord is risen!

Happy Easter, everyone.

I attended a small Episcopal church for more than thirty years until COVID closed it down last year. Or, to be more precise, the bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia closed it down. After Governor Ralph “Coonman” Northam allowed places of worship to reopen (with capacity restrictions), the bishop, in her infinite wisdom, decided that Episcopal congregations would not be safe if people attended services in churches, so she issued a ukase insisting that they remain closed.

St. Paul tells us that “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38) But he didn’t know about COVID, which is more powerful than all those things he mentioned. It not only separates Episcopalians from God’s love, it obviously deprives them of their ability to reason.

Our little church resumed services last spring after the governor gave religious gatherings his imprimatur. However, two factions developed within the congregation: those who were sorely afraid of the Wuhan Coronavirus, and those who weren’t. The former group was not content to simply stay home from church; they were adamant that the rest of the congregation also follow the COVID drill — masks, social distancing, no touching each other, no eating together, sanitizing everything after services, etc. Rather than try and talk the second group (which constituted a majority) into compliance, they contacted the bishop, who came down on our church like a ton of bricks. We were shut down, and the church remained closed until Palm Sunday last week. In the two services they’ve had since then, there have been no prayer books in the pews, no singing, no passing the peace, no communion, and no coffee hour. I didn’t attend either service, but I think there were, in addition to the new priest, three or four people in attendance, socially distanced, with their masks on.

Can you imagine celebrating an Easter Eucharist without singing? I can’t, either. That’s why I wasn’t there today.

Beginning last summer, the dissidents of our congregation — who, as I said, constituted a majority — have been meeting clandestinely in the living room of a private home. Our priest, who served the church for a number of years before it closed, is one of them, so we can celebrate a full Eucharist, unmasked, with no social distancing. Our organist is also there; she plays a baby grand piano while we all sing, joyfully and with gusto.

After today’s Easter service we gathered for lunch in the adjacent dining room. It was traditional Easter fare: ham, asparagus, boiled potatoes, and little chocolate bunny candies for dessert.

We all agreed that the Lord has blessed us in our new place of worship.

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Last year I discussed the fact that when the congregation fractured along the fearful/fearless fault line, it also divided itself along a political fault line. I’m pretty sure that those who demanded “safety”, the ones who attended COVID-compliant services last week and today, also voted for Biden. But none of the dissidents who chose to risk communal worship did — all of us were Trump voters, and we can now speak freely about politics over lunch if we want to, without having to worry about triggering any of those present.

It’s an interesting correlation: people who are fearful about the “pandemic” tend to be liberals. Opinion polls confirm the trend; it’s one of the stronger correlations revealed by national surveys. I don’t know why it should be that way, but there it is.

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

16 thoughts on “The Tomb is Empty

  1. Perhaps, as the Baptists divided into Northern Baptists and Southern Baptists during the Civil War, the Episcopal Church will, during the current Uncivil War, be dividing into the Left Episcopalians and Right Episcopalians (Anglicans?).

    • They already have. A friend reports it did not help much. The left faction stole her church building, even though it had been a conservative church. And the Archbishop of Canterbury is a Left Anglican.

      Home churches sound like the way to go.

  2. I too have noticed the correlation. I will never understand why such people just cannot be miserable on their own and leave the rest of us alone. It’s not enough for them to just stay home wearing eight masks with the doors and windows taped to prevent their viruses from escaping but they have to insist upon using the hired guns of the state to compel the rest of us to comply with their miserable example. Humanity seems to naturally divide upon these lines; those that choose freedom with all of its risks and those that seek security above all else even at the cost of their own freedom. The lack of frontiers makes it much worse, since Karen & her allies seem to multiply exponentially with the urbanization of every square foot of liveable space. And it is not a philosophical problem where we can convert them to our way of thinking but physical separation of the two camps of humanity or war until one side is annihilated.

  3. In the UK, maybe even when you were resident, there was a TV add where the Bank Manager was kept in the cupboard and was brought out when needed.

    It has always struck me as how we treat God if we are not careful.

    Logically, God is in control, therefore we keep Him out front, after all, he won’t contaminate us, like the guy next to us.

    You are much more scriptual with a home fellowship anyway. No church buildings in Acts, those came with Constantine and were presumably converted pagan temples.

    As for the great divide, interesting, but then Biden is probably one of those who keeps God in his pocket alongside his snot rag, just in case he is required to show his credentials at election time.

    Shame about the Bish.

    • I don’t remember the bank manager advert, but when I lived in England there was a TV ad with a jingle that went: “Electricity, clean simplicity.” That is, the electric utility — a state entity — was trying to get people to consume more electricity. There must have been a power surplus.

      I also remember a Wimpy commercial: “It’s a Wimpiful world out there.”

      And also: “Have you had a cuppa tea since teatime?”

      And: “Bird’s Eye rissoles — they’re made country style.”

      All those little jingles, still stuck in my head more than fifty years later. They must have been on ITV — I don’t think the BBC had any commercials.

    • You are correct MC, I attended a home fellowship for seven years until the leader got a job out of town. We studied Deuteronomy for three years, and I came away from that study with the sense that it was the Gospel presented in the Tanach with Jeshua fulfilling it as chronicled by the apostles and Luke (at the behest of Theophilus for Paul’s defense in his appeal to Caesar). We also studied the Book of Numbers (not my math text) and learned how the precedent that was set by the daughters of Zelohaphad qualified Jesus to inherit the throne of His father David. We do in home family worship and pray now and watch the services on wither our computer or big screen TV. It’s tons of fun.

    • MC:

      I don’t remember that advert, but my dad did when I was smaller, because he used to call our cat “the bank manager” because he would pop out of whichever wardrobe or cupboard he had been sleeping in when it was mealtime. Thanks for reminding me of a happy memory.

      Nowadays even bank managers and bank branches are becoming things of the past. I don’t much like this brave new world.

  4. Same here in Europe: those who fear Covid among my friends are the ones who can swallow any libtard propaganda sideways. The Corona propaganda is only the dessert for them.

    So I think it is the degree of hypnotic susceptibility and agreeableness that makes the difference between conservatives and libtards in their relation to the Corona Hoax.

    • and He is returning for those who are His, born again and saved by grace. Maranatha!

  5. I’m not %100 sure, but is there a line somewhere that no female bishop is permitted? Must have gotten cancelled with other no nos like no gays, no adulterers, no money hungry people, no liars, etc to attend the church. Alas, I cannot attend either, just to keep the holier than me faultless.

    • There are plenty of female bishops in the Episcopal Church. We have Bishop Susan in this diocese, and, strangely enough, there’s a different Bishop Susan in the diocese to the north of us.

      We had a different female bishop more than ten years ago. She looked like Muammar Qaddafi:

    • Actually the line is that a Bishop is to be the husband of one wife. There seems to be no restriction in the scriptures about females holding positions in the assembly, and indeed Paul names a few in his epistles, he also tells Timothy “neither Greek nor Jew, bond or free, male or female for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

  6. Glad you were able to celebrate Easter, Baron. There is a church on the other side of the village but it is a Karen church and nobody else can understand a word they say – rather like social workers at a case conference.

  7. Episcopal female bishops? Feminization is the basis of almost all of our social pathologies. Luciferian attacks on the father have all but destroyed huge numbers of families and the church before Covid was already catatonic as a result. Covid lock downs are fueled by Karens who use the way overpaid and otherwise useless effiminate LGBTQ weaponized cops to enforce their global TV approved hysterical hypochondria upon all of us. Get a grip ladies.

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