I loved Sandi Somers' story at the beginning of the month about attending an Easter sunrise service. It made me think about my own experience attending Easter sunrise services.
My husband and I pastored in the Yukon for eight years in the early 2000s. In our small community of Watson Lake, we worked hard to nurture a close relationship with the other churches in town. I am happy to say that the ministerial enjoyed a vibrant and unified sense of purpose, meeting monthly on the first Sunday night for prayer and fellowship at a different church each month. We put on various fundraising events like spaghetti dinners to top up our benevolent fund, served about 300 at an annual Christmas banquet where the entire town was invited, and did many other activities together.
All five churches were represented - Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal, Evangelical Free, and a homegroup - and we became very close-knit and supportive, setting aside our doctrinal differences in favor of focusing on the things we had in common - namely Jesus and His resurrection!
This is one reason why our annual Easter sunrise service was so special.
Another thing that made it memorable was that it was VERY COLD!!!
We met at a small park in the middle of town called Wye Lake. Fortunately, the park had a cabin where we could warm up if necessary and where we had a potluck breakfast afterward. March or early April in the Yukon is not anywhere near spring, believe me! So, the service was usually short and sweet, with scripture, a couple of hymns, and a very short reading or devotional rather than a sermon. Then we gathered inside the cabin to warm up and enjoy some fellowship. Then, because the service was so early, each church went back to their 'home base' for their own service at the usual time.
These are some of my favourite memories of Easter services. It was not complicated and sometimes it was almost irreverent as folks stomped their feet to try to stay warm! Still, there was such a sense of unity, all centred around the awe of the risen Christ.
This year, some of us may not be gathering as we normally would, but we can still bask in that same realization that Jesus came to this world for one express purpose - to die and to rise again, defeating death and the devil once and for all.
HE IS RISEN - HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Tracy Krauss now lives and writes in northern BC, but has a soft spot for the far north. (Prince George isn't north, people!) She is currently serving as InScribe's president. Visit her website: https://www.tracykrauss.com to see her many books and plays.
Dear Tracy, what a lovely story of unity in Christ. COVID has certainly helped us all appreciate our treasured memories more than ever before.ReplyDelete
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
So true, Wendy. I know that people say memories can often be coloured with what we WANT to remember, but those years were truly special in that there was a tangible and unique sense of unity among all believers, no matter denomination, that I have not experienced anywhere else.Delete
What a wonderful concept to join together with other branches of the Christian faith in your community to celebrate Jesus Christ, Our Risen and Sovereign Lord. Thanks, Tracy, for sharing your good memories of these celebrations.ReplyDelete
Precious memories for sure!Delete
One thing I learned in the cold north is that the cold brings people together in a comradeship that only can be experienced in a northern climate like the Yukon! Simple services in natural environments can simply be the best.ReplyDelete
This is so true, Lynn. Somehow the extreme climate strips away some of the things that are not relevant. A survival mentality, perhaps?Delete
Absolutely love this post. May more of this happen among the body, creating unity. What a wonderful community of believers. We are all children of God and we are all in this together. Thanks, Tracy. It gives me hope that this can happen anywhere. With God all things are possible. Whoo hoo!ReplyDelete
God is bigger than any type of division - even in these times when disunity and polarization seems to be rampant.Delete
What a fascinating post, Tracy. I'd love to visit the north someday. My bucket list items are visiting Cambridge Bay, Fort McMurray, Fort Smith, Fort Nelson, Fort Simpson, Hay River, Inuvic, Norman Wells, Tuktoyucktuk Watson Lake, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife. I composed tunes about those places after having met airport managers from there.ReplyDelete
What a cool list Bruce! I used to live in Fort Smith (and Watson lake as i said in the post) and I've been to Fort Providence, Fort Nelson, Hay River, Whitehorse and Yellowknife. I've never been to Fort McMurray, Norman Wells or Tuk, but the last one is one our bucket list. My husband is anxious to drive the new road connecting Tuk to Inuvik. Adventures await! We do love the north...Delete
I have always wanted to attend an Easter sunrise but it has never happened (most likely to me not getting up early enough). This has me thinking about trying harder. I think that there is something very reverent about them. I enjoyed your blog post. The closeness amongst denominations is inspiring.ReplyDelete
Thanks Gloria. Strangely, I had never attended one before moving to the north.Delete
The unity you sensed, how wonderful! We all need more of that.ReplyDelete
Agreed! Especially these days!Delete
This is a good memory - nice storytelling too! Brings home the truth that the changeless message and story of EASTER is ours again and again... here's to celebrating in 2021 - and the picture of unity in the Body - also very good. Thanks Tracy!ReplyDelete