One big difference in this year’s Sunrise Service

Rev. Tricia Calahan delivered the message at the Easter Sunrise Service at Ring’s Pond. The morning was unseasonably warm.

Rev. Tricia Calahan delivered the message at the Easter Sunrise Service at Ring’s Pond. The morning was unseasonably warm.

With one exception, the Easter morning rites at Ring’s Pond were like the Sunrise Services in the past. The same clergy officiated. The same musicians accompanied the hymns on their guitars. And, as usual, a pink stuffed bunny was perched at their feet.

Many of the worshipers were regulars. They arrived early because there was daylight before the service started at 6:30 a.m. (which is what happens when Easter lands in mid-April instead of late March).

The congregants noticed the difference. “You won’t get pictures of people shivering this year,” they told us. And they were right. With unseasonably high temperatures, there were few overcoats in the crowd, and no evidence of anyone being cold.

Rev. Julia Winward of  the Cornwall United Methodist Church provided the welcome, and encouraged people to greet one another. Rev. Tricia Calahan (Cornwall Presbyterian Church) delivered the message.

She referred to children making the same request over and over. A parent might, at first, respond by saying “no,” and later change that to “no, period” if the message isn’t being absorbed.

The period indicates “finality,” “end of conversation,” “nothing more to be said.” The disciples thought they had encountered a period at the crucifixion. But that changed with the resurrection on Easter.

Rev. Calahan considered other forms of punctuation. She said that some people might regard the story with a question mark — trying to reconcile the Easter message with what they observe in the world today.

Others might prefer an exclamation point for emphasis, but her preference was the ellipsis — the three dots indicating that there’s more to come, that the story is still continuing and has no end.

After a “Litany for Easter” and the closing hymn, Rev. Calahan offered the benediction and Rev. Winward added “Go have breakfast,” as people laughed. In the past, they might have rushed to their cars to turn on the heaters. But that wasn’t necessary on April 16.

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Ken Cashman