Today is Easter Sunday.
As always, we took part in a sunrise service at dawn.
This time we watched the sun rise over the boats in a marina,
overhead gulls joining our voices in song. Warm breezes.
A lovely setting--far different from the wintry mornings we donned snowsuits, hats and boots to stand shivering at the western edge of Lake Champlain, gazing at the sun rising up from behind the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Sunrise service is not about the location of the dawn.
It's a tangible way to connect with that first Easter morning.
The women arrived at the tomb prepared to anoint Jesus' poor,
mutilated body with herbs and spices. A sad task.
How heavy their grieving hearts were as they made their way to the garden
in the dim light of pre-dawn.
Quiet conversation voiced practical concerns:
Who would roll away the big stone that sealed the entrance to the tomb
that had been carved in the rock?
Did we bring enough herbs and spices?
What would become of us now that Jesus had died?
They peered tentatively into the tomb to discover not a body, but a young man,
dressed in a gleaming white robe .
The poor, stunned women heard these amazing words,
"Don't be afraid, I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here.
He has risen!"
All that worry and sorrow shattered with the breaking of day--
Jesus is alive!
And that message makes all the difference for me
and all Christians worldwide.
Five churches from this town joined to hear the message, sing and pray.
The lines of doctrinal distinction blurred as we celebrated the resurrection of God's Son.
We united in the one profound belief all Christians share.
A sunrise service connects my heart and emotions to that first Easter morning
over 2,000 years ago.
(I can almost smell the spicy aroma of the burial herbs.)
It's the same sun. The same earth. The same message.
The same promise.
The same joy!