Home Christian News The Story Behind a Pastor’s Wife’s ‘Viral’ Easter Poem

The Story Behind a Pastor’s Wife’s ‘Viral’ Easter Poem

The Easter Poem Takes Flight

Bothur and her husband serve South Beltline Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, which mostly consists of elderly people who may or may not have access to the internet. The couple worried about their congregation during the shelter-in-place orders that everyone is currently trying to observe. Bothur’s husband, who is a bivocational pastor, asked church members to reach out to one another and make sure they had what they needed to shelter in place.

On Palm Sunday, their small church didn’t yet have the capacity to stream a service to their congregation (they’ve since gained that capacity). So the Bothurs told the group to watch a televised service provided by another church in Columbia. In addition to worshipping at home with her family that day, though, Bothur did something else. She started writing the poem that was taking shape in her mind. She says the first few lines drew inspiration from Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Bothur then shared the poem with her family, who encouraged her to put it on Facebook. 

That’s when someone from Awakening America Alliance saw it being circulated on social media and decided to get involved. Kay Horner says the poem “spoke into what the Awakening America Alliance is about.” The organization moved to put the poem in a video as quickly as they could. Horner believes it’s a timely message that “helps to encourage pastors who need extra care during this time.” 

Indeed, Bothur says the poem was written to believers specifically. “Easter is more than what the world says that it is,” she explains. “My prayer is that it will spark other believers to realize they can be part of a revival. Revival starts with the church.”

Additionally, Bothur articulates that the world is not the enemy. Rather, much like the Grinch and the reporter who simply didn’t understand the purpose behind these Christian holidays, the world is watching believers right now and observing how we respond to this crisis. Bothur points out that at the end of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Grinch is essentially converted and joins the Whos in their celebration. May we see a similar outcome in this time as believers show themselves to be calm in the face of crisis, known for our love, and overwhelmed with praise for the salvation we have in Christ.

Bothur Empathizes With Those Who Feel Loss

Bothur says she doesn’t think “any of us are going to know if [the virus] is a judgment,” as some Christians have vocalized. The more important observation we should be making, Bothur implies, is that “God can use it to show people that we can trust him even when we lose all of the trappings around us.”

The pastor’s wife has gone through intense suffering of her own and hesitates to call anything a judgment that is costing people so much. She shares about a friend who is currently serving in India and who fears if the lockdown in that country goes on much longer, people will likely starve to death in their homes. Bothur likens the effect of calling the virus a judgment to trying to explain away the pain a couple experiences when they lose a baby during pregnancy, an experience Bothur has endured five times. Giving a reason for a profoundly painful experience, Bothur explains, can “minimize the suffering people are going through.” 

Bothur and her husband have lost five children over the course of five years. It was an excruciating experience that Bothur writes about on her blog. It was this experience that prompted Bothur to start a ministry at her church in Columbia. Naomi’s Circle ministers to parents who have been through a pregnancy loss. The group has an outreach ministry to a local hospital and does things like send care baskets to parents who have lost a baby. Bothur says she can’t imagine having to go through trauma like that in a time of social distancing and sympathizes with those who can’t properly grieve their losses during this time. 

“I don’t want to minimize in any way,” Bothur reiterates. “Sometimes a word of hope will fall on deaf ears if we haven’t been seen as a vessel of comfort,” she explains, alluding to the church’s sometimes harsh responses in times of trauma like the one in which we currently find ourselves.

Bothur is encouraged at the response her poem has received so far. Through her blog, she’s received comments from churches all over the world who wanted to use the poem in their Easter services. The diversity of churches reaching out to her–Brethren churches, Southern Baptist Churches, United Methodist Churches, Catholic, and Anglican churches–has surprised yet delighted her. “I know we don’t always agree on all of the intricacies,” Bothur says, but she believes the poem has found a way to speak for believers everywhere who “want to stay focused on Jesus being the Lord.” 

You can download the video made in partnership with Awakening American Alliance  for use in your church.

How the Virus Stole Easter from Great Commandment Network on Vimeo.