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"Beyond the traditions surrounding Easter —like Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets, special Easter outfits — there is a loss of gathering together to celebrate what is the cornerstone and defining event of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus Christ," said Fox News chief religion correspondent Lauren Green.
However, Green reported that spiritual leaders, like San Antonio pastor and best-selling author, Max Lucado, believe that there are benefits to worshiping outside of a church building.
Many, if not most, of the nation's churches are shuttered, as the Trump administration called on all Americans to observe strict social distancing guidelines and a growing number of states issued stay-at-home orders.
"It’s not just Easter Sunday the faithful are missing but the entire Holy Week," said Green, referring to the period of religious observing running from April 5 to April 11.
"Starting with Palm Sunday, Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Churches give out palm leaves as part of the remembrance," she explained. "As the week progresses the services get more and more solemn. Maundy Thursday is the Last Supper; Good Friday, Jesus is crucified; Holy Saturday, Jesus lies dead in the tomb. And then the triumphal Easter Morning.
"The hymns that are normally sung like, 'Christ Our Lord is Risen Today, Hallelujah'— will not be heard in a packed sanctuary; the communal reflection of why theologians call this moment the climax of human existence will be experienced only as individuals or small family units," Green continued, noting that some Christian denominations will face more disruption than others.
"The most impacted will be Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Christians. The receiving of the body and blood of Jesus is a transformative part of the mass. You cannot receive the elements -- the bread and wine -- from your computer screen. These denominations believe in Transubstantiation -- that as the priest prays over the elements they are mysteriously transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus."
Despite those challenges, church leaders said the deep meaning of Easter cannot be overshadowed.
“We may cancel Easter services, but the promises of Easter cannot be. That’s above our pay grade," said Pastor Lucado in a recent episode of Green's "Lighthouse Faith: podcast. "The promise of Easter is that Christ rose from the dead. He's defeated death and He demonstrated his power over death by exiting the tomb.”
"Sometimes going to church is kind of like checking a box," observed Green. "But in-home worship makes it more of a relationship with the Living God."
"We can still pray, sing hymns, listen to incredible sermons. In this way, each of us can approach the throne of Grace, read the accounts of the Passion story in all four Gospels, understand and absorb the story for ourselves. And potentially we can become closer to God than ever before."
The streaming service Fox Nation has multiple shows, documentaries and movies that focus on faith and religious education, including a collection of the sermons of evangelist Billy Graham, a virtual pilgrimage to the holy land and the 2004 movie, "The Passion of the Christ."
"Mel Gibson’s movie ['The Passion of The Christ'] is a marvelous depiction of the Passion story, of Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection," said Green. "Unlike many Bible movies, it is theologically accurate combining the four gospel versions in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. For example, when Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, one of his followers cuts the ear off a Roman guard and Jesus reattaches it and heals the wound immediately. That’s only in Luke.
"People will learn what real Roman crucifixions were like," she continued. "They were bloody and violent. The Romans were in effect professional executioners. Crucifixion was so awful, a word was created to even explain it. The word excruciating means “out of the cross”... In watching the movie you can see the pain God was willing to go through to save us."
In the 4-part Fox Nation series, "Holy Week," Fox News co-host Pete Hegseth explores the story of Jesus and the principals of the Christian faith by visiting ancient landmarks in and around Jerusalem and by examining the art and architect that remains today.
"The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is believed to be where Jesus was crucified and buried," explained Green. "The church encompasses both sites: Golgotha, the hill where he was crucified and the tomb where he was laid.
"Speaking as someone who has visited the Church, it is a powerful aid to one’s faith," said Green. "To see the place the Bible speaks of, to know that it is a real place enshrined in majesty and reverence can make Scripture come alive. To walk on earth where Jesus preached and spoke is transforming."
Lastly, on Sunday, April 5 at 7:00 pm EST, Fox Nation will present, "At Home Communion Service" with Dr. Robert Jeffress, Grammy award winner Michael W. Smith, and the First Dallas Choir and Orchestra as they celebrate Palm Sunday.
To see all that Fox Nation has to offer, including "Ainsley's Bible Study" with "Fox and Friends" co-host Ainsley Earhardt, "The Passion: Facts, Fiction and Faith" with Lauren Green, and much much more go to Fox Nation and sign up today.
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