The Grant County community imbued the most meaningful Christian holiday with even more meaning this year.
While Easter always inspires reflection on the Resurrection, events open to the public provided greater insight and brought the stories from the Bible to life.
The door was open for anyone who was interested in learning more about or being a part of these special events in history.
Volunteers from local churches and religious groups donned costumes and delved into roles to portray the last week of Jesus’ earthly life for the Road to Resurrection at the Spring Roundup April 8.
Young and old walked in Jesus’ footsteps and were able to ask questions and interact with the volunteers.
Participants waved palm leaves at Jesus’ triumphal entry and heard from Barabbas in prison. They sampled the Passover meal and made their own cross necklaces.
Whether working the event or attending as a guest, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
The Spring Roundup brought together not only churches but the community as a whole.
The unifying spirit carried throughout Holy Week, as local congregations hosted special services.
Redeemer Lutheran Church hosted its annual traditional Jewish Seder, or Passover meal, bringing in several people from outside the church.
The educational gathering offered insight into the Last Supper, as well as Judaism. The traditions and rituals of the rite provided depth and texture to stories Christians have heard many times.
From bitter roots representing the bitterness of slavery to the unleavened bread the Jews took with them when they were freed from Egypt — because they had no time for their bread to rise — the symbolism was powerful. The meaning was difficult to miss.
Yet, perhaps more powerful was the willingness to open the door to anyone who wished to attend. Until that night, I did not know the Seder calls for people to do just that in a literal sense, but I still think the little church deserves thanks and praise for its welcoming attitude and atmosphere. And for trying to bring the community together.
One can almost always find animosity, anger, resentment and hatred in just about any direction these days.
But during Holy Week, negativity seemed harder to find.
Maybe people were too busy or too tired from everything going on, or maybe I was too busy to notice.
Or maybe the sense of unity brought out by these community events truly inspired people to love their neighbors. Maybe even their enemies.
Either way, as I sat in the pews on Easter Sunday, I felt a stronger connection to the community that came together to host such enlightening, welcoming events to herald in the all-important Christian holiday.
As I listened to the readings, I felt a deeper understanding of the events that shaped Jesus’ life.
As I reflected on the Resurrection, I felt a sense of hope.
Hope that Jesus’ message had not been lost somewhere along the way, as it so often seems.
And hope that we — from Grant County to the global community — may one day live up to Jesus’ ideals.
Sean Hart is the editor of the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.