We are all touched by the coronavirus and its relentless stampede across the globe causing sickness, death, pain, heartache, uncertainty, instability, fear and disruption to our way of life. The whole world has been impacted including Hockey Ministries International-its staff, volunteers and ministry partners.

    Who would have thought that a day would come when arenas in every corner of the world would be in lock down? Players, team personnel, fans, media all- helplessly quarantined. Stands and player’s benches sit empty. Press boxes once home to a constant flurry of activity of play by play announcers and reporters are silent; cameras, draped in black, sit idle; sticks and equipment hang on racks and hooks waiting to return to action. Ice cleaning machines are parked; doors are locked; lights are out; pucks are buried in buckets. Over these unique structures called arenas hangs an eerie darkness so powerful that it has brought to a halt the coolest game on earth and the millions who play and watch.

    In some ways- this eerie darkness, caused by a persistent and invasive enemy, pictures another time in history when another enemy was at work, the sun was shut out and darkness prevailed. It was the day Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, was crucified- dead- buried and locked in a tomb. Lights out! Game over!  Gripped with fear, teammates and family fled the scene and secretly sequestered in homes of loved ones. All hope was lost. The enemy had put up a huge win. God’s Champion was defeated...or was He?

    The Bible records and history attests that the lights came back on...the seal on the tomb was broken, Jesus was raised from the dead and reunited with family and teammates. Hope sprang to life. His teammates met Jesus. He was alive. They believed and were the first to carry the torch of the Christian faith which today has more than 2.4 billion adherents. After His resurrection, Jesus said to the Apostle John: “Don’t be afraid! I am the first and the last. I am the living one. I died but look-I am alive forever and ever.” (Revelation 1: 17-18)  And Peter, the first team captain wrote: “It is by his (God's) great mercy that we have been born again, to a living hope through the resurrection from the dead... To obtain an inheritance reserved in heaven for you." (1 Peter 1:3-4)

    We all hope that our coronavirus enemy will soon be defeated; that all medical front-liners will breathe sighs of relief as patients are sent home strong and healthy; that workers will be back on their jobs; and that the economy will make a giant comeback. And for hockey enthusiasts, that arenas will be lit up once again; that players and fans will storm back into arenas and pucks, long buried in their buckets, will be unleashed allowing play to resume.

    But during the pause we at HMI will resolutely continue through all of our social media platforms, cell phones and written resources to share the message of hope found in knowing the risen Christ of Easter personally.

    Have you believed? While Easter 2020 will be uniquely celebrated, its message remains steadfastly the same. Like Christ’s teammates that first Easter, we too can experience living hope and the assurance of eternal life through personally receiving Christ into our lives. Why not invite Christ into your life and join the team?