Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, which is the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is the highest of Holy Days in the Christian world, even of more importance than Christmas which celebrates the birth of Christ.
I have refrained for the many years I have written this column from talking about religion, but for some reason I’m compelled to break that rule for this one column.
I came to Hannibal in 1975. The churches were by no means full even on special occasions. Ecumenically, we shared in Holy Week services and usually in a Lenten Study once a week during this special time of year. It was really a nice way to get to know people in a small group setting. Many churches are struggling now.
Most churches have Sunday Schools and other youth activities even though the majority of church members are older adults. Churches are working hard to transform the church of yesterday into the church of tomorrow while remaining true to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is disheartening to see how few people attend church even on special occasions. Even many of our own children have left the church – we hope they have just “gotten out of the habit” and will someday return. Many folks today have never attended church even as children. A number of children coming to church are bought there by their grandparents or great-grandparents.
The mission of the church hasn’t changed in 2000 years: to tell the story of Jesus Christ through thought, word and deed. We don’t believe doing good will get us to Heaven but we try to do good in response for all the good things God has done for us.
We know the church is full of sinners but so is the rest of the world. Those in church acknowledge that they have done wrong and want to do better.
We have all heard why folks don’t come to church even the children of Israel turned away from God and followed their own desires. Yet God, by His grace, kept a remnant for Himself.
There were always some, a few, who chose to be faithful to God. I sometimes feel like I am part of the remnant. I am not afraid to admit that I sometimes need the ‘crutch’ of church, much as I needed a crutch when my knee was replaced and I once needed a cigarette!
I also admit that sometimes I’m weak – but even the strongest among us has broken under pressure! I don’t know many “perfect people” in church with the possible exception of Me! But then as they say – “God isn’t finished with me yet!”
So what’s the point of all of this?
I see people who supposedly have it all but they don’t seem very happy. I see people who work around the clock with little time for family or friends or to enjoy their hard earned wealth. I see folks with the latest gadgets and the largest collections of things – but they aren’t satisfied.
I see folks who are lonely with few visitors or friends. I see folks who have lots of friends but no one to share their inner thoughts with. I see people whose world seems to be falling apart.
If you find yourself thinking that something is missing in your life – if going it alone hasn’t worked so well for you, why not give going to church a try?
How could it hurt? Come in and sit a spell, enjoy the peace and quiet of the sanctuary (or the loud boom boom of a rock band), the joy of the praises to God in word and song, the tradition of prayer, the fellowship of the people.
I hope you will find a warm welcome. If not remember the church is full of sinners and we are all working our way through life. Come more than once – it may be like eating vegetables when you were a child – take a no thank you portion and it might just grow on you. Hope to see you there!
* * * * *
Congratulations to Ann Mahaney for her selection as Hannibal Library’s Woman of the Year. This was a well deserved honor – sorry to have missed the celebration but understand it went very well.
* * * * *
God’s Vision Christian Church will hold Easter service at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary.
The Hannibal Methodist Church will hold its Easter Sunrise service on the steps of the Church at 7 a.m.
Martville Methodist will hold Easter worship at 9:30 a.m.
Hannibal and Granby Center Methodist Churches will worship together in Hannibal at 11 a.m.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday of spring break, the Hannibal United Methodist Church will be serving a free lunch to any Hannibal Central School student who wishes to attend. Games will also be offered from noon until 2 p.m. Please come and “hang out” with your friends and have lunch. Remember this will be Monday, April 1; Wednesday, April 3; and Friday, April 5 from noon until 2 p.m.
The Senior Nutrition Program meets at the Senior Center, next to the Library on Oswego Street on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation now at 564-5471. Can you believe Monday is April Fool’s Day? The center will be serving soup and sandwich that day and that’s a no foolin’. Wednesday will be barbecued pork ribs and baked beans and Friday, Santa Fe rice and black beans.
Also Monday, they will be having their Easter celebration – you just might want to make yourself a bonnet for this special occasion and on Wednesday, Bingo will be breaking out and on Friday, Rosemary will have an art project for those who care to take part.
Hannibal Dollars for Scholars is hosting a pulled pork barbecue on Sunday, April 7 from noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Hannibal American Legion on Rochester Street in Hannibal. The dinner includes pulled pork with a kaiser roll, cole slaw, salt potatoes, baked beans and dessert. Take-out dinners will be available. Pre-sale tickets are available. Visit the chapter web site at hannibal.dollarsforscholars.org and e-mail one of the chapter contacts, or phone 564-5630.
Cabin 3 invites will hold a S.O.S. FEST meeting Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. at God’s Vision Christian Church, 326 Church St., Hannibal. S.O.S. FEST is a three-day Christian music festival held at the Hannibal Firemen’s Field July 19-21. Camping is available!
The Friends of the Library have another raffle basket — this time a “Gardening Basket” full of needed supplies. Drawing April 27 at the library.
First United Church of Fulton will be holding a Mission Fair Saturday, April 27 featuring some of the mission activity of our local Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery. There will be a spaghetti dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. to benefit your columnist’ mission trip to Appalachia in June. I do hope to see you there.
Start cleaning out your closets, garage and cubby holes – the Hannibal Community Yard Sale will be May 4! The Salvagins have once again agreed to receive information on your sale and print up the list of locations. They are in the phone book so give them a call! This is one of the good things and a great way to meet your neighbors!