Canceling Easter

Sometimes you have to fight back. Sometimes you have to say “enough is enough.”

The virus that just won’t go away has stymied politicians as they attempt to deal with a public health “crisis” that just doesn’t seem that urgent after a year. We’ve gotten used to COVID-19 and government interference in our lives, both warranted and unwarranted.

France entered a new lockdown as the week progressed, So too did my home province of Ontario, Canada. Here in Germany more restrictions were announced, including cancelling Easter worship services and family gatherings – then the announcement was rescinded.

What was refreshing was the way the government backtracked. No weasel words.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the plan, a complete five-day shutdown of everything on relatively short notice, including grocery stores, was an error.

“This mistake is mine alone,” she said. “The whole process has caused additional uncertainty, for which I ask all citizens to forgive me. There were good reasons for it but it could not be implemented well enough in this short time.”

How refreshing to see a politician take full responsibility for their actions. I give Merkel credit for realizing the difficulties she was creating and reversing the process. Most politicians wouldn’t have had the guts to admit error or culpability.

However, once Easter is over, I expect increased restrictions. If the government thought it had good reason for further infringements on personal (and corporate) liberty in light of increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases before the holiday, it will have even more afterward when cases are expected to increase. People may be more receptive after having been together with family members for an Easter meal.

If there is one thing we have learned from the past year, it is that our politicians are confused as to how to deal with a public health crisis. In Canada, for example, the Auditor General has done and analysis and slammed health officials for their lack of preparedness. That has to change.

COVID-19, for all its disruption, has ben a fairly mild pandemic. The death toll is high, but nothing like the 14th century Black Death pandemic that killed between 70 and 200 million people in a world with a much smaller population. Our governments and health officials need to be ready for something highly contagious and deadly. Do you see any evidence of that?

For now, I am pleased that this Sunday I can celebrate Easter in church, even if singing will not be allowed and masks and social distancing are required. I suspect it may be the last time I can gather with fellow believers for at least a month, maybe more.

2 comments

  1. I do miss singing and have now begun rehearsing with a choir via Zoom. It’s not the same, of course, and having to record my part, solo, on my phone is quite painful — I sound awful! The playback is not at all what I heard while recording.
    It’s that blending together, so much a part of worship (even in my “silent” Quaker practice), that provides so much deep sustenance. I can’t imagine, either, shouting “Truly He is risen!” through a mask as part of the Greek Orthodox Easter celebration.
    For perspective, though, the continuing high Covid toll even with all of our precautions is an inkling to the devastation that could have happened.
    So here we are, still breathing.

    1. We’ll be shouting through our masks, even though the church is not Orthodox.

      Twenty years or more from now sociologists may conclude that we should have taken the initial devastation, that the mental health toll of the past year, not to mention undetected physical ailments such as cancer, weren’t worth it in the long run.

      I’ve been rather bemused that our politicians have adopted a Christian attitude to life, where one death is too many.

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