Bluffton Packet

Easter a celebration from the hills of Virginia to the shores of South Carolina

Easter sunrise service on the beach.
Easter sunrise service on the beach.

Mark 16:2, 5, 6: “Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side. ‘Don’t be alarmed’, he said, ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!’ “(NIV)

Easter is a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of His burial after His crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary.

Easter is one of the most important holidays on the Christian calendar.

The resurrection represents the triumph of good over evil, sin, death, and the physical body.

Various religious denominations celebrate this very important day in different ways.

When speaking to my friends and innkeepers of Do Drop Inn cabin rentals, William and Susie Johnson of Fancy Gap, Virginia, who are annual visitors to Hilton Head Island and online readers of The Island Packet, they told me of their Easter sunrise service on April 1, 2018, near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Their service was at Mount Plains United Methodist Church, located two miles north of Fancy Gap. On that Easter Sunday morning, the temperature was 46 degrees at 8 a.m. as Pastor Kay Seay brought forth the Easter message just as the sun was peeping up over the mountaintop in the east.

William and Susie are members of another one of the three churches in the Blue Ridge Circuit, Fancy Gap United Methodist. But all three churches, to include Island Creek United Methodist, are within 10 miles or less of each other, so they combine their sunrise service with usually 20 to 30 attending. Breakfast is served by the host church afterward.

One year when their church was the host, they held it on top of a mountain on a member’s property.

As it turns out, when this member was clearing that particular area of his property, he uncovered a row of big rocks in the shape of a cross. So he erected a huge wooden cross at the head of it, presenting a beautiful view when the sun comes up over the mountain.

Back home, Dr. Jack Gatlin, pastor of Maye River Baptist Church in Bluffton, brought out the importance of the cross when delivering a sermon titled “The Crucifixion of Christ.” The cross is the pinnacle point where time and eternity intercept. It is the only place where sinful men can meet Jesus on common ground.

To bring significance to this belief, he portrayed the story of a preacher alone on a bus with two belligerent young boys. When his stop was reached and he arose to leave, they haughtily called out, “Hey preacher, how far is Heaven?” to which he replied, “One step.”

Here is a listing of Easter sunrise services for some area churches on April 21, 2019:

The Church of the Cross, 110 Calhoun St., Bluffton, 6 a.m. on the bluff at the end of Calhoun Street.

Red Dam Baptist Church, 488 Red Dam Church Road, Hardeeville, 8 a.m.

First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, 6 a.m. in the church courtyard, with worship led by its Crossroads contemporary worship team.

First Baptist Church, 100 South Forest Beach Drive, Hilton Head, 6:30 a.m., held on the beach in front of the Marriott Grande Ocean Resort. Deacons will be present with flashlights in the church parking lot to escort you to the site of the service, which will include seasonal music and an Easter message, with breakfast following at 7:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center.

St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church: Bluffton Campus, 39 Persimmon St. No. 203, Bluffton, will hold a service at 7 a.m. at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park. Hilton Head location, 20 Pope Ave., will hold a service at 7 a.m. on Coligny Beach.

Maye River Baptist, 3507 Okatie Hwy., Okatie, 8 a.m. (The church is also having an Easter Celebration from 10 a.m. to noon on April 13, with an Easter egg hunt, cupcake buffet and judging on best-decorated Easter bonnets and ball caps. The Bluffton Police Department and Bluffton Township Fire District along with the K9 Justice Unit will be there as well.)

Young girls and ladies always look forward to wearing a pretty new dress on Easter, along with their Easter bonnet, which fits right in with the lyrics of Irving Berlin’s song, “Easter Parade”:

“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,

you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.”

So, adorn your Easter bonnet to attend the Easter sunrise service of your choice, armed with bug spray or a dab of Avon Skin-So-Soft lotion to keep the “no-see-ums” away while celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Take that “one step” to meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.