My Easter Experience
Dear First Church Family,
I just want to let the church family know my experience from Easter Sunday Morning. Last year at this time I had only been able to attend on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Easter Sunday Morning 2015, we were pleasantly surprised to be free to attend our first Sunday morning service at First Church. By this time last year I had become close to pastor and Bob Young (who introduced Stephanie and I to First Church). This year Stephanie and I have been blessed make friends with many in the church.
A couple of weeks ago, I was looking forward to attending all the Easter Services at First Church. I was blessed be in a footwashing service with men that have been in the Church of God longer than I have been alive and we had a young man participate that had never even observed a footwashing service previously! I also was asked to sing with the choir and reluctantly accepted Judy’s invitation. More on that later.
On Good Friday, I was able to observe the re-enactment of the crucifixion. Pastor noted that many involved were not even at First Church last Easter. God is working in First Church. Also this week, Stephanie discovered that the neighbors she had as a child, were long time members of First Church. On Good Friday, she and the pastor showed me their picture in the Unity room.
Remember I stated I was looking forward to “attending” the Easter services? I showed up to “attend” the sunrise service. I was very honored to be a part of the service by reading the Easter morning passage found in John 20. I received an unexpected lesson in this sunrise service. As we went out, we could hear roofing work from across the street. It seemed irritating, but with the forecast, it was likely needing to be finished. Then Pastor actually used the “irritating” sound to enhance his message! So as a person desiring a job in the ministry, I was taught on Easter morning to always look for God’s provision in everything. We then got to fellowship over a delicious breakfast. Stephanie and I were blessed to get to know two couples a little better. If I explained how much I was blessed by conversing with these two couples, it would triple this writing.
Now back to Judy’s invitation to sing with the choir. Not having worn a choir robe for over 30 years, I really did not know what to expect. My intentions were only to help add a bass voice since Brother Wingo was unable to sing this year. I am not a strong singer. The reason God had me in the choir loft had little to do with the singing. Just look at what I was able to observe from the back row of the choir. I was able to see one of the couples I had just got to truly meet at breakfast. I was able to see some people that have not been physically able to be in church for a while, two that stand out are Bunny Wingo and Phyllis Campbell. (Ms. Campbell even made it to the sunrise service!) I was able to see children of all ages, which blesses me as my own children are now grown and on their own. I was able to see Roger and Linda Oake’s family and think, maybe one day my children will bring some grandchildren to church. I was able to see people that were celebrating their first Easter with out their spouse (the first I think of is Pat Dickens, but we do have others). I was able to see a beautiful friend that First Church had brought back into our lives. When Stephanie and I first got married 25 years ago, we lived in an apartment for five years next to Joyce Cotton. In the choir I was standing between two long term Church of God men. One is 44 years my senior and been in multiple churches, but at First Church of God Roanoke for many years. The man on my other side is a life long member of the Church of God, but is 11 years my junior. First Church lured him over with one of the pretty young ladies. I was standing behind a lady that is planning to marry my friend that first invited me to First Church. They both seem happy and excited. I felt a little sad for him because he was sick and unable to be at church today. I also could look out and see a lady that is no longer able to live in her home of many years, but what makes it special to me is that when I walk out my front door, I can see the back of that home. First Church allowed me to meet this lady for the first time only a few months ago! (Why don’t we know our neighbors anymore?) One more thing happened while attempting to sing this Easter Sunday morning. I looked out and see a face I have not seen since 10th grade! I had mentioned his name to pastor once and Jim said if I speak to him, tell him to come see the Pastor some time. I had to nearly run to the back to get to speak to him!
After church, I got to spend some time with my family. I asked my mom if she remembered the Boitnott’s from Burlington Elementary. I then showed her the picture directory. Mom said “yes, and she works at Sam’s Club!” Mom had been seeing her there and thought she knew her from some place. First Church helped her make the memory connection.
I have driven past First Church for many years. I am real curious as to why I had not at least made a prior contact. I am very thankful for getting to know the ones I have now met. I also look forward to getting to know even more in the future. First Church is a loving caring place and I am excited to see what God is going to do here in the future.
Thank you for making us feel so much a part of this family!