After early morning thunder, Easter Day turned sunny in Dallas. It was our Easter in Virustide. There were no churches open to visit, no restaurants, no parties, and perhaps worst of all, no Choral Evensongs. Of course, lots could be found in the Virtual World, but the sunshine was calling, and the feet took the head and the heart outdoors.
Crowds of people were outside, as if this were a normal spring Easter, not too hot, the air washed clean by the earlier rain. But you could tell it wasn’t normal. The crowds were not, shall we say, crowded. A group of five were lingering near a tree, drinks in their hands, but not that close to each other. Talking, smiling, laughing, but not touching: the unnormal distance was present there in the midst of normality.
I have been avoiding the Katy trail of late: when many runners and walkers and bicycles and dogs are out, one cannot but be in a crowded crowd. So I was off, I’m not sure where, following a sidewalk, crossing some grass, passing a closed-up baseball field, climbing a hillside, clambering down to a street. And I was crossing an empty parking lot when I noticed an electric cart pulling up parallel to me. It was not close, but the driver seemed to want to talk.
He asked me how I was doing. Fine, I said, just out for a walk. Then with apology he told me I shouldn’t be there, that this is a children’s hospital . . . May I say, it was the gentlest reprimand I’ve ever received in my life? Of course—I said—I understand perfectly. I get it; I have grandchildren. Very sorry. And I retraced my steps and went around.
What’s that word for walking in a place you’re not supposed to be? that word for going on a path you’re not supposed to go on? It begins with a “t.” Yes . . .
So it was Easter, but it is not yet the final Easter. We go on erring and straying and trespassing. The Virus is still here. But someday, someday it will be the final Easter, and there will be no more need for the many things we do now to protect one another.
Department of Small Things. I don’t believe one can find “Easter Sunday” in any edition of the Book of Common Prayer. I was a new priest when a charming but crotchety old guy told me I had an error on a sign I had made. It’s “Easter Day,” Felix (RIP) told me. Since then I’ve fancied that’s because Easter always falls on a Sunday.
On the Web. “He’s Asking Your Permission” is a very brief meditation on Maundy Thursday I wrote for the Covenant blog: https://livingchurch.org/covenant/2020/04/09/hes-asking-your-permission/