Salem Methodist Church continues to celebrate together

Published 9:56 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

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Tracy K. Hall

On Upper River Road there is a church which has stood for ages. On Resurrection Sunday, April 9, 2023, they continued a tradition which in and of itself tells of a Risen Savior, sings an alleluia and reminds us we are simply asked to tell the story of that Savior again, as we know him personally.

Although the sun has begun its work by 7:15, the congregation gathers to hear a word from the pastor, Mark Carter. Easter Sunrise is a very sacred hour for the Christian as it harkens to our first Resurrection Sunday when an empty tomb was found and a joyful Jesus the Christ had busted hell wide open and redeemed all of humanity and once again reminded us his entire creation would be restored. We aren’t sitting in Eden yet, but it is coming, just as Jesus himself is.

Mark is a fine leader, but what speaks so loudly to both the congregates and the community is a cross, now draped in a clean, crisp, white sash where only days before a black one was draped over it. Crosses at Easter are not a rare sight. Even crosses bedecked in the white sash and flowers are not rare. But at Salem there is a different twist on things.

Members bring an offering of flowers and greenery on Sunday morning. Depending on when Easter falls, most of the offerings were picked out of a yard. If Easter falls later in the season there is still the offering of God’s creation as it bedecks the homes of members, but there are additional offerings which are no less God’s good stuff, but were purchased for the special purpose of adding life to a wooden cross. As Mark finishes out his words the members add their offering to the cross. It is a painstaking task as each flower or piece of greenery belongs in just its right space. As the minutes pass, the cross comes to life in a which tells an awesome story. What was once an object of torment blossoms into life itself. Salem’s members are but a glimpse of what the Church at large is up to.

By the end of the morning the cross is a beautiful offering made by every congregant. It is mission of a community to share with a community. Just as God’s creation is, no words are needed and are often too small to capture the beauty. But a keen eye helps to bring light to the soul. At the end of the 11am service, families  and friends will stand in front of the cross, with Jesus showing on their faces. With Jesus’ love pouring out as a story to be heard. Just as it should be every day.

There is no doubt when Jesus returned with the keys that released all of humanity, his heart was full of joy. On Easter Sunday some of our everyday gets sanded down and his joy is seen by even the most jaded eye. There is a beauty in partaking of this practice with other believers. There is beauty. There is hope. There is victory. There is joy. There is life. There is a community reminded we stand on such a foundation. Onward we move, on a path which often brings horrible things. But the worst thing is never the last thing. The path will always end in glorious victory.