Mary Went to Anoint a Corpse and was Greeted by a Savior

April 10, 2015

by Len Lathrop

The First Congregational Church of Pelham’s Easter sunrise service had a little bit of a different twist this year.  As Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, let’s blame Mother Nature for the snow and the mud that forced the congregation to meet inside the Harris’ Pelham Inn.

With Easter being at the beginning of April this year, the sun didn’t come up to 6:20 a.m., but when it did. it was brilliant.  Rev. Bill Ferguson led the congregation with an understanding of Easter with the service focusing on the unexpected “think of a moment when your fears were suddenly proved unfounded and you are surprised by joy.  This morning is such a moment.  We resigned ourselves to the worst and suddenly life turned around.  Remember He is risen indeed.  Hallelujah.”

As is tradition, Mike Ely greeted those arriving with hymns of joy from his baritone, while standing in the pergola at the water’s edge.  While many went inside, those who stopped for a second just to listen, might have been amazed to see the sunrise behind the pine trees in the bell of that baritone.

Every year the youth of the congregation help Rev. Ferguson with the sunrise service, from the call to worship by Sam Blanchard and Sarah Hartz to responsive prayers by Angela Getty, and the scripture by Allison Blanchard and Morgan Pratt.  The setting of a new table with symbols to help us remember Jesus’ journey, the members of the youth group each came forward and explained the meaning of what they were placing on the table.  This sunrise service was something that everyone in attendance will remember.

Sydney Carter led a hymn and Arthur Cummings directed the call for offering.  As this intimate service came to an end, the sun was shining brightly when Eric Hayes gave the benediction which was based on John 14:2-3 Romans 8:31 and Philippians 4:7) with the question, “if God who raised Jesus from the dead is for us than who dare be against us?  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  Now step out into the world in humble confidence:  there is nothing about to happen that God has not already seen, and no situation where Christ will not be there ahead of you, preparing a place and an opportunity for you.”

The sun did rise, the congregation did sing, and Easter Sunday was a special celebration.