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.