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Celebrating Easter in Quarantined Valenciennes

We, the members of the Church of Valenciennes Le Rempart, “gathered” on April 10th, 2020, a day we call Good Friday, to commemorate it and take communion together. This kind of celebration as a church was a first, not just due to the distance, but because we had to use Zoom.

At the suggestion of a member, who had experienced this in another church, we wanted to celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday as two sides of the same coin. Our celebrations are key moments that bring as much fruit as is prepared in the hearts of everyone.

Good Friday is particularly focused on the eternal destruction of humanity and the atonement of Jesus Christ. This extends the invitation to meditate on the Passion of our Lord, to contemplate His cross, to humble ourselves at His feet, to allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to our sin, to receive the forgiveness of the Father, to let ourselves be overwhelmed by this love like the sinful woman from Luke,[1] to exult with joy on Easter morning.

This celebration mainly consisted of readings and song. The principal readings were chosen from the Gospel of Mathew. Other readings were interspersed, from the prophets (Isaiah), the psalms (22 and 88), and epistles (Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Hebrews). Community members, and children who wanted to, read one or more of the texts in turn. There were ten participants, almost all read. We ended in prayer, praising God and asking for comfort for one another in these times of loneliness and confinement.

Listening to these texts and reading them to each other was a powerful experience together and very much appreciated among our church members. Without in any way depreciating the value of preaching, there is also a force in the spoken Word of God that does not need us to do anything. On this Friday, we must also understand that sitting at the foot of the Cross can leave us speechless and that the Word comes to our rescue.

Mélanie Simon

[1] Luke 7:47

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