Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Notes From My Knapsack 03-27-05Jeff Gill
Sunrise!That is an astronomical event with (according to the Old Farmer's Almanac) a very precise time and orientation on the horizon. For Easter Sunday, call it 6:22 am.Of course, the pre-dawn twilight begins about 5 am, growing in illumination to the first appearance of the sun's rays directly shining over the horizon. So is it sunrise when the first light of day is visible? When you can read a headline from the Booster without a flashlight, closer to 6 am, or when the disc is visible of the ruddy orb o' dawn, which is you're on west side of a hill, could be more like 7 am?So sunrise is an elastic term, and the various Christian worship services tied to the celebration of Christ's rising from death "at sunrise" are equally various.While I find no evidence of any church holding a 5 am "Sonrise Service," there are congregations going with 6, 6:30, 7, and even 7:30 am.You probably did not pick your church by when they hold Easter sunrise observances (though some may be wishing they had checked that out before joining), but for those looking to attend a "community service," there are two open to their entire locality worth noting here in the knapsack.Around the Lakewood schools area, the Lakewood Area Ministerial Association is holding their Community Sunrise Service at 6:30 am just inside the gates of Dawes Arboretum at 6:30 am. Musicians from churches in Jacksontown, Hebron, and the surrounding area will set up in that aforementioned gathering light (and dew!), sharing their gifts with you and a chance to sing and pray together just as the sun rises over the hills to the east.In the greater Newark area, the Newark Area Ministerial Association in association with the Licking County Jail Ministry offers an Easter Sunrise Service at the Midland Theater, right on Counrthouse Square. Thanks to the support of Park National Bank, neither the time of sunrise nor the status of the weather is a big problem in that vast indoor space.A community chorus will sing and Rev. Barbara Sholis of First Methodist downtown will preach. Afterwards, a very tasty and cheap ($5!) breakfast in the Second Presbyterian fellowship hall benefits the ministry programming at the Licking County Justice Center. A mere short block away, you can't pass up the fellowship and food after getting up early to celebrate life and renewal in the first place.Most churches will be delighted to see visitors at any service on Easter morn, let alone at whatever time they observe the sunrise commemoration, but these two worship events are oriented around an invitation to the wider community.But wherever you go, at whatever time, remember to celebrate that Spring is here, Hope is born anew, and all Creation can rejoice . . . the ham and candy are just a fringe benefit. Now plant your lettuce and peas (you did that already, right?), set the turnips in the ground, and hold off on those flowers and tomatoes for a few weeks yet, because there's still some frost in an Ohio springtime well into April. Easter Monday is a good day to get up again at dawn (6:20 am) and turn over some soil, smelling the life already bursting out beneath your very feet.Next weekend, time change, and dawn really jumps around on us, so dig in now!
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; if you want to share a story of renewal, e-mail him at

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