Celebrating Easter Differently During the Coronavirus Crisis
Each spring, Christians around the world celebrate Easter. Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent and is the day that Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion. Christians look upon Easter as one of the holiest days of the year. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are granted the gift of eternal life. My family is Catholic, and celebrating Easter together has long been a tradition. This year, because of the social distancing required to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Easter will look quite different for all of us.
Our Jewish friends and neighbors who celebrated Passover this week are experiencing the same feelings of separation. In America, we celebrate many different religious traditions. This reminds us of the brilliance of our founding fathers who placed great emphasis on protecting our rights to celebrate our religious beliefs.
While most churches have opted to close in order to protect the health of parishioners, many are offering livestream videos of church services. You can check your local church’s website or social media pages to see if this is something they offer. We always go to mass on Easter morning, but this year we will be watching from home. Like so many other families, we will also be forgoing the big Easter celebration with kids and grandkids after church service.
This Easter season, many of our neighbors and friends are having a hard time right now. And we’re all dealing with this new “normal”. Health care workers and first responders are continuing to put their lives at risk to fight an invisible virus. We’re so thankful to them for what they do. We’re also thankful for the folks who continue to go into work, day after day, to provide important services to our communities. For business owners who have had to make the difficult decision to close their doors temporarily, please know that we are working around the clock to help you access funding so you can keep employees on the payroll and be ready to open again as soon as the pandemic is over. Social distancing, while necessary, isn’t easy, especially for folks in rural areas, or who may be living alone. I encourage South Dakotans to call their neighbors, grandparents, parents or anyone they know who may be feeling isolated or lonely during this time. We’re all dealing with an unprecedented challenge, but we will get through it together.
If any South Dakotan has questions or needs help, please don’t hesitate to contact my offices in Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls or Aberdeen. All of our contact information can be found on my website, www.rounds.senate.gov.
Governor Noem recently declared a “Day of Prayer” in South Dakota, to encourage people to pray for an end to this pandemic, and President Trump did the same thing for the country a few weeks ago. Turning to prayer has helped our family as Jean went through her cancer treatment, and I believe it can help in this situation as well. We pray for everyone battling the coronavirus, as well as for the scientists working hard to create a vaccine.
All Americans are feeling uncertain during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s natural to experience stress or anxiety right now, because we just don’t know how long this may last. Easter is a reminder to us that pain and suffering do not last forever. Jesus’ death and resurrection shows us that we can find peace even during the most trying times. Because of my faith, I have hope that brighter days are ahead.
Even though this spring feels different this year, Jean and I pray that all South Dakotans are able to find joy this Easter Season and take time to reflect on what’s truly important. May you find the comfort I find in 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”