A few weeks before Easter Sunday, I informed my wife I wanted our family to attend a community based (aka non-denominational) outdoor sunrise service for Easter Sunday worship. When asked if I intended to include our 4-year-old and 6-year old sons I responded, “Yes.”
She probably agreed, at that time, because I’m not a morning person and can rarely force myself out of bed, especially on a weekend. We rarely make our church’s earlier worship service on any Sunday because I cause the family to run late. Surely, she thought, the novelty would fade away before Easter.
I jumped out of bed this morning and was actually the catalyst motivating everyone to welcome the bitter cold (for Alabama 26 F is bitter cold) predawn morning. We all bundled up and made it to the riverside outdoor service with a few minutes to spare.
The collection of one hundred or so worshippers combined with numerous clergy was refreshing. We sang along with an acoustic southern group, prayed together and listened to a fitting sermon. The different skin tones, worship styles and musical preferences of the worshippers didn’t matter for one hour this morning. My experience was one of reverence and equality.
My sons even commented how much they liked outside church and asked if we could attend it at least once each month. I still don’t think they understand why it only happens once per year, mainly because I don’t. But it doesn’t matter, after the service we did Younger Son’s favorite church activity: going out to eat. And after a big breakfast, church location was a distant memory.