The light of a sunrise

From the desk of …

by Patricia Swyers, Commissioner – 

Sunrise! As Easter approaches, I have warm memories of past Easter sunrise services. They are many and varied and reminders of people and places which we have enjoyed. My first memories are of a big white corps building with a large wrap-around porch and a large yard all around. It was the large front yard where we would meet year after year in folding chairs to sing the songs I grew to love: “He lives, I know that my Redeemer lives,” or “Up from the grave he arose!” These songs still bring a sense of joy and peace that I am unable to adequately express.

In the midst of all these memories is one of a godly woman who was respected and loved by everyone who knew her. They also loved her “made from scratch” biscuits that she baked every Easter morning for all who attended our early sunrise services. She was a great Christian influence on many lives and on mine in particular. She was my grandmother—a believer and follower of the risen Christ whom we love and celebrate.

Years have come and gone, and the services have been inside and out, at sunrise or a little later for the accommodation of “late risers.” They have been large and they have been small. There have been cold and rainy mornings and, thankfully, there have been some warm mornings.

It’s interesting to note which ones stand out as special. One such service took place when our two sons were still at home and we were invited to be the Easter guests at the Mountain Mission in North Carolina. We love those mountains and were looking forward to this weekend. Sunday morning came, and we rose and awakened our sons in order to be on our way by 4:00 a.m. We were given directions to where this service would be held. One of the directions was to turn left at the red brick house. It was a cold, rainy morning and IT WAS DARK! Needless to say, we had never been on those curvy roads and had no idea how dark it could be in the early morning hours. This was also the time before cell phones so as the boys slept in the back seat, my husband and I tried to find a red house in the darkness. We turned down several mountain roads only to end up in someone’s yard! Finally, one more road with a left turn, by a house whose color we could not determine, proved to be the right road. It was a one-room schoolhouse that through the years also doubled as the chapel for the Mountain Mission.

Shining through the cracks of this 100-year-old building was a glowing light and as we approached and saw the cars and trucks parked outside, we breathed a sigh of relief and whispered a prayer of thanks at having safely arrived. Inside the people were waiting for us with a “home-cooked” breakfast and genuine warmth. We greeted each other around the pot-bellied stove with grateful hearts for the light that had led us to the right place, but more importantly grateful to God who had given us his Son to be our Savior and who today brings LIGHT into the darkest corners of the earth.

I first saw his light in the life of a godly grandmother who daily shared his love wherever she went, and today as I celebrate his resurrection, I do so with the desire and prayer that I too might be a reflection of his light so that others might find their way to the right place—at the foot of the Cross!

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