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Local Clergy Explore True Meaning of Easter

Easter Sunday marks the most important day in Christendom as millions of followers around the world celebrate the resurrection of their messiah, Jesus Christ.

Local pastors say that while Christmas gets all the attention, Easter is the holiday that is really the true essence of the Christian religion: Jesus conquering death.

“The religious leaders and politicians of (Jesus’) time worked together in cahoots to crucify him,” said Pastor Chip Andrus of the South Salem Presbyterian Church. “But God said that was not the last word – there is still love and hope possible in this world. If people want to see the resurrected Christ today, all they have to do is look at those who love and care for each other the way that Jesus taught us.”

Pastor Lori Miller of the Pound Ridge Community Church said that the Christmas holiday didn’t really come to the fore until centuries after Christ founded the church, but Easter was there from the beginning.

“When the Christian faith was first recorded, the heart of the message was Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection,” Miller said. “The power of God was seen so completely in him as he burst the bonds of death.”

Miller said the message that the resurrection delivers is people can conquer every challenge.

“The things that seem to defeat us in life – the habits, the ruts, the addictions – and chain the world are not inevitable and unconquerable,” Miller said. “The power (to overcome them) is available to us.”

Andrus, who took over the South Salem Presbyterian Church last summer, said that for the first time since his church was established in 1752, it celebrated the Tridumm, a continuous service that marks all three holy days: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

“Maundy Thursday, which means ‘commandment,’ celebrates Jesus’ final command to his disciples to love each other,” Andrus  said. “At the Last Supper they washed each other’s feet. We did that Thursday night and it was a powerful act.”

Andrus said the service continued Saturday at sundown with a bonfire, which signifies the “new light.” It also included the lighting of the Paschal candle.

“We all lit candles and possessed into the sanctuary and did reading from the Old Testament,” Andrus said. “It then culminated with the reading of the resurrection.”

After the ceremony, the church performed several baptisms and confirmations and the church welcomed 18 new members into the congregation.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Andrus said.

At the Pound Ridge Community Church, congregants received Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday and services were held Friday night to “mark Jesus’ trial and crucifixion,” Miller said.

On Easter morning, the church held a sunrise service at the Pound Ridge Town Park.

“It’s great to be up and about as the sun rises,” Miller said. “It’s a pretty spot right at the pond. It’s a nice service and a great way to start Easter.”

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