Sunrise Service

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Matt 28:6 (KJV)

Easter is my favorite day of the year. I know the world explains away the Christian celebration, citing pagan practices of long ago that have evolved to be part of Easter. I consider their renouncement of celebration for our joyful occasion sad and unfortunate. So what if the pagans used eggs as symbols; when I see Easter eggs, I think of the new life inside the shell. Immediately my mind turns to new life in Christ.

I realize too that I celebrate Christ’s resurrection each day because I acknowledge Him as Savior. I celebrate Christ’s resurrection each Sunday in worship of Him as Lord. I still rejoice to celebrate Christ’s resurrection yearly on the special day we call Easter!

Sunrise Service (called that with fondness because I see times of services advertised to begin at 6:30 a. m. or 8:30 a. m. or times between) makes the top of my list to attend every Easter! No other worship gathering grabs my heart like Sunrise Service. Sometimes the chill of the air goes to my bones; or rain runs the service inside (It’s hard to see the sun rise when you’re inside.); or snow gently falls on me as I worship. None of those weather hindrances dampens the excitement for me “as it begins to dawn toward the first day of the week” Matt. 28:1 and I go to celebrate the empty tomb! My heart thrills at the stillness of the early morning, the chirping of the birds, and the quiet gathering of believers. Extra joy overflows on the occasions when the sun breaks through the clouds and brightness fills the air.

My love for Sunrise Service started when I was very young. My daddy and I rose early each Easter morning of my childhood and quietly left the house, being careful to not wake Mother. We drove about two miles to the town cemetery where we joined many others gathering in almost silence to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. The Robersonville High School Concert Band, in full uniform, with their metal folding chairs placed in concert position broke the morning air with “He Arose” in “surround sound.” I would not have been surprised at all to see Jesus, robed in white, walk around one of those gray, marble tombstones. In fact, I expected Him. The ministers of Robersonville, NC participated in the service with prayers, poems, hymns, and a message. Finally, trumpeters sounded taps from far away amidst the graves. After a few soft greetings and hugs, Daddy and I, holding hands, headed to our car and home to see what the Easter Bunny brought. Then, dressed in our best, Mother, Daddy and, I attended Sunday School.

I’ve delighted in many Sunrise Services through the years. I relished every one my dear husband Don preached when he pastored. Our three children rarely complained at “getting” to attend Sunrise Service. What a delight to shiver under a blanket a few years ago when our son Donald preached in the cold air in Franklin, OH. Tomorrow morning when Don and I gather with believers at a cemetery, the refrain will be as fresh as ever “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. “Matt 28:6 (KJV)