SPRINGFIELD, Mo- Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, is here, but because of COVID-19 many religions are modifying how they observe the holiday.
For those of Jewish faith, this week also is Passover. Passover observes when the Israelites exited Egypt in Biblical times.
Rabbi Barbra Block says during Passover, they do not eat leavened products, and participate in a Seder meal. She says families, both extended and immediate, normally gather at a table to eat the meal, but now they have to find alternatives.
“So some families will be getting together over Zoom, some will be getting together with friends over Zoom, and some will be streaming, there are some large congregations that offer stream seder that people can join in,” says Rabbi Block.
Through these alternatives, Rabbi Block hopes that the message of the week does not get lost.
“This is an opportunity for us to go deeper because the ancient Israelites had to deal with major change when they left Egypt. They were leaving what they know and having to find new ways to do things together. So this year for us is a year when we are leaving what we knew, but this is in a way a chance for us to think about that experience of being uncomfortable of leaving what is familiar and finding a way to bring meaning to that,” she says.
In the Christian faith, this week starts with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday.
For Ben Stringer, Associate Pastor with The Venues Church, they have had to adjust services to be solely online.
“Normally, we have a midweek service downtown, and we have that service on Thursday night, so we usually have kind of a Maundy Thursday feel to it,” says Stringer.
He says The Venues will have an online Maundy Thursday communion and an online Sunday Easter service.
“We’re preparing as much as we can to make the offerings(Easter service traditions) as generous as they usually would when everybody is together,” says Stringer.
He says they will make the online service this Sunday feel as if you were there on Easter Sunday.
Ozarks First reached out to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau to hear what those in the Catholic faith are doing differently for Easter services but did not hear back before this story was written. If you are unsure what your religious congregation is doing for Easter services, reach out to them on social media to find out.
For those who attend the Easter Sunrise Service, it has been canceled, according to a Facebook post by Easter Sunrise Celebration.