AWAKENING TO THE SOUND of birds singing seemed natural on a sunny spring day. A smile crossed my face and I felt quite blessed and then it registered…this was Good Friday, the day HE was nailed to the cross.
One of the devotionals reads, “Be still. Be ready. Peace can pass all understanding.” Another devotional stated, “Walk steadily along the path of Life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Hear ME saying Peace be still to your restless heart…” and even in another, those same words – still, ready, steadily and peace – virtually jumped off the pages almost as if the authors had collaborated over the written word during a dinner. Did I say a dinner? Somewhat like the last supper? Then my mind wanders to Christ’s walk to Golgotha. At times, his feet may not have been steady, the burden of the cross wearing his physical body down. But, his mind was set, ready and steadfast on accomplishing for me and you what he was set on this earth to do.
And then for him and for us came the Garden of the Tomb and the Resurrection on the third day. We call it Easter, derived from an Anglo-Saxon word basically meaning a festival or celebration of Life and of Spring.
And so we fill it with Easter rabbits, chocolate crosses and other symbolic things and all week long, I have been asked questions like “what does the rabbit have to do with Easter?” Take a quiet moment to visualize Christ sitting in a meadow beckoning all God’s children to come to him. In a meadow, wouldn’t you see butterflies, birds and rabbits? Aren’t rabbits known to multiply? Isn’t that what He is doing, multiplying his followers?
THE CROSS has come to symbolize God’s amazing love and forgiveness and reverence was paid on Good Friday during a noon service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kilgore. The service was led by Reverend Kevin Wittmayer and called The Stations of the Cross, a 14-step devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on earth as a man. The devotions, or “stations,” represent successive incidents during Jesus” last day on earth as a man, from his condemnation by Pilate to his crucifixion and burial. The stations grew out of imitations of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked, to his death.
“The day to us is very reverent,” said Liz Garrison, who has been a part of Holy Week services since infancy. “After our Maundy Thursday service, all color is stripped from the altar and everything bright and shiny is removed. A black net is draped on the cross and the same goes for the people who come to the church on Good Friday,” she said. “No music or anything of adornment is used and there is an introduction or liturgy of the word by Reverend Wittmayer,” as she tried to explain the service. “Even the sacraments for communion are reserved and blessed from the night before and specific readings are read at each station toward the walk to altar. It is very solemn, very reverent as we recognize the fullness of His Giving of His Life for us.”
Other churches in the area have specific ways of recognizing Holy Week and Easter Sunday with special services, sunrise services and cantatas are offered throughout the community. You do not have to be a member to participate in their Easter services. For me, it is not Easter unless I get to stand and watch the glory of the sunrise with a promise of a new beginning.
“LOOKING FORWARD to having a great crowd attend the Overton Easter Egg Hunt today, Saturday, March 31. It will be held at the Overton Community Golf Course instead of the park,” said Jeannine Barber, ONLCC executive vice president. “Activities begin at 9 a.m. with the egg hunt to follow at 10 a.m. and a huge thank you to all who have volunteered to set up around 7 a.m. and/or help during the event. To God be the Glory!” she added.
OH FOR THE GOOD TIMES…Ken Ragle brought his “honeymoon wagon” to town this last week. The wagon was a 1964 Chevrolet pickup truck that he bought brand-new at the time, paying the whopping price of $2,600. Everything in it is original with the exception of the seats.
“This truck took Sharon and me on our honeymoon and brought our newborn kids home from the hospital and beyond,” he laughed.
The truck is still sporting the last inspection sticker he placed on it in 1983
before putting it in storage….oh, guess I shouldn’t have told that.
HAPPY Easter, hope it is jelly-bean bright filled with His Love and Light from morning until night. In the meantime we may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-984-2593.