Easter in Auburn

Local pastors explore the meaning of resurrection
By: Melody Stone, Journal staff writer
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As Auburn churches prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ pastors took a moment to muse over the meaning of Easter. Easter is widely considered one of the most important days in the Christian calendar and the attendance on Easter Sunday backs that up. Bryon Hansen of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Auburn, couldn’t put a number on the increased attendance. He just said that it’s “a lot.” "Easter is the high point of the entire year,” Hansen said. "It's a really difficult thing to put in simple words because Easter is huge." Bethlehem Lutheran will host two Sunday morning services at 8:30 and 10:30 at 1279 High St. Hansen said the services will feature symbolism and multi-sensory experiences. "It is celebrating the movement from darkness to light,” Hansen said. “It's filled with a lot of symbolism and imagery." Hansen said people should experience Easter because it can’t be explained. "Easter can never be contained in a concept, it must only be experienced,” Hansen said. “The resurrection is a power that has been let loose in the world and is a power of unconditional love and that's worth celebrating." Rev. Mark Schindler, of Unity of Auburn, said he doesn’t take a literal interpretation of the death and resurrection of Christ. "We don't claim to know exactly what happened. Whether it was a literal physical resuscitation, it doesn't matter the literal truth or not,” Schindler said. “It's clear something happened that inspired his followers so much so that it became the religion of the Roman Empire and outlasted the Roman Empire." At Unity’s 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday services Schindler said service participants will cover a cross with flowers. Unity will meet at 1212 High St. "We take something that's a symbol of execution, death and defeat and we turn it into something that is a symbol of life and hope,” Schindler said. Rob Patterson, the pastor of Bell Road Baptist Church, doesn’t just focus on the resurrection. He said Easter is half-done without Good Friday. That’s why his church is co-hosting a service called “Who Killed God” on Friday at 7 p.m. with the Elevation Church at 707 Bell Road in Auburn. "Jesus died on the cross on Friday and raised from the dead Sunday morning, so an Easter celebration is incomplete without going to the cross on Friday," Patterson said. "Jesus is the only man who has only lived a sinless, perfect life and his sacrifice on the cross was given to pay for the sins of mankind." Bell Road Baptist will also hold a sunrise service on the hill with the three crosses at 6:30 on Sunday. "We'll remember that Christ rose from the dead and it was a mysterious Sunday morning as people came to understand that the tomb was empty. It helps us to grasp the real meaning of resurrection day,” Patterson said. “Some people think of Easter as candy and a ham dinner. For us, by gathering around those crosses, we remember the real meaning of Easter.”