Welcome to Easter 2020

St. Mary’s Church in tracy might have been closed Sunday like most other churches, but it still sent an important message on Resurrection Sunday.

Thanks to COVID-19 and the weather, there was nothing typical about Resurrection Sunday this year

Three-year-old Judson Apitz waves to the Easter Bunny during Saturday’s Easter Parade in Tracy. Emergency personnel took to the streets with the Easter Bunny and Sparky, the fire department’s mascot, in tow.

This year’s Easter celebration was like no other.

Church pews around the area were empty, church organs silent on Resurrection Sunday.

Easter eggs were hidden in snow, if at all, because of a spring snowstorm that dumped 5 inches of snow in Tracy.

And in a scene that more resembled Christmas Day, Easter carolers stood on Rowland St. in front of the Tracy Lutheran Church Sunday to sing the first verse of “Christ is Risen” as a steady snow fell upon them.

“Sometimes at Christmas we don’t connect Christmas to Easter, and honestly, the whole purpose of us celebrating Christmas is he’s born to do this,” said Tracy Lutheran Church Pastor Eric Natwick. “That’s the whole point of Christmas — it’s not an event in and of itself, it’s actually sort of a prelude to the Easter event. There’s a part of me that thinks, ‘Oh, it’s OK to combine Christmas and Easter.”

Natwick said the overriding sentiment this year was that it just didn’t feel like Easter, because of the heavy snow that fell that day and the COVID-19 pandemic that is keeping people, for the most part, shuttered in their homes.

“Human beings, we like to gather, especially for big things like this,” Natwick said. “We need to be wise, so we’re doing things in a different way.”

While there definitely were no gatherings in churches in the area Sunday, church bells did ring at noon. Natwick himself, rang the bell at Tracy Lutheran — the first time he had even done so.

Regardless of how odd Sunday felt for so many, Natwick said the message of Easter remained strong.

the easter bunny made the day of a lot of children in Tracy during Saturday’s Easter Parade. Tracy fireman Daren Danielson had the privilege of driving the Easter Bunny around town.

“You have the same things that I feel need to be said about the resurrection, about the gospel,” he said. “What’s unusual about it is just not being able to gather to do that — we have to do it sequestered away in our homes. Sometimes I think this is how the early Christian church did things — in very small groups, in homes — no sanctuaries.”

After Natwick rang the bell for one minute, he headed outside where a number of Tracy Lutheran Church congregation members had gathered in the snow to sing “Christ Is Risen.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.