Easter Sunday is here!
Many Christians around the world would be knee-deep with the preparations of Easter and are planning to start their morning with an Easter sunrise service.
This particular ritual commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, which resonates with the core belief of Christianity that says that the lord is back, defeating death to bring eternal life and salvation to his believers. On this day, the tragic and agony significance of the cross has been replaced by the ecstasy of the Resurrection.
Paul writes to the Corinthians in his first letter: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Christians have been practicing this ritual in a number of ways for centuries. The Moravians, the ancient Protestant dominations, were the ones who held the first sunrise Easter service in 1732. Following the all-night prayer vigil, the unmarried men of the community headed towards the local cemetery, where they welcomed the rising sun with the songs of thanksgiving.
Other communities also started adopting this ritual in the following year, and eventually, the service became an integral part of the festival within the community. The Moravian migrated and spread across the world, bringing their ritual along with them, and soon Protestant churches started celebrating as well.
The timing of the ritual usually coincides with the timing of the sunrise. So, it’s really early in the morning. Reason being that the first believers - who were women, according to every gospel account – visited the tomb of Jesus on the sunrise only to find the rock from his grave moved away and the body of Jesus disappeared. Since then, the believers started holding a ritual at the same timing as to when this significant event took place.
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Many churches still observe the ritual according to the Moravian practice, holding the service in a graveyard to accentuate Jesus’ victory over death. Others assemble outside the sanctuary or at any other open place for the service. However, this year you may expect a virtual gathering.
The 2021 Easter sunrise services have also been held at prominent places like Stone Mountain in Georgia and The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Easter 2021 is being celebrated on 4th April.
Church sings gospel hymns!
Since Coronavirus threat is still looming over our head, many churches have decided to hold the service online or with limited attendees. For example, Colorado Council of Churches announced that the Red Rocks’ tradition of an Easter Sunday Sunrise will be held online due to COVID-19 precautions.
The council has decided to keep off the crowd this year, and instead, live stream the service online – the video of which will be published on Sunday at around 6 a.m. The video will be available for viewing on the CCC’s website, their YouTube channel, and on their Facebook page. Celebrants can also tune into K-LOVE Radio to listen to the service.
The sermon is expected to be delivered by the Right Reverend Kimberly (Kym) Lucas – the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Colorado.
Other worship leaders such as Bishop Karen Oliveto, United Methodist Church, Mountain Sky Conference and Rev, Denise Pass are also expected to join the service.
Stephanie Garvey and Spirit of Grace will be the musical guests at the morning service.
Happy Easter Sunday!
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