As he prepared for his betrayal, arrest, ‘trial’ and death, Jesus prayed for the unity of all believers. Inspired by that prayer, churches at Rockhampton in Queensland will join for Easter in a powerful witness.
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When we get to heaven, we will gather with all of the saints around the throne and worship the King. This is really something to look forward to: no divisions, no hatred; complete unity, pure love and holy togetherness.
Every now and then, you come across something heavenly on earth, a little taste of the glory to come. That’s what I believe the Christian community will experience again this Easter at Rockhampton in Queensland.
The idea of a combined churches’ Easter Sunday celebration was suggested during meetings between members of the Rockhampton ecumenical ministers’ fellowship.
Calvary Lutheran Church decided to take part and in 2016 the first combined Easter service was held.
We started the day with breakfast, then held a short holy communion service in our own church. We moved on to the local Baptist church for the main worship service.
Five churches officially took part and about 850 people got together for worship. There were musicians, a choir, readers and preachers, all from different churches celebrating in a way that would shake the town.
The vibrant and jubilant worship service went for 90 minutes and afterwards people fellowshipped together over morning tea. Some discovered for the first time that others in their community whom they deal with on a daily basis, worshipped the same God, though maybe in a slightly different way, and they were part of the same Christian family.
Everyone in the Christian community in Rockhampton has been encouraged. We may have thought this could never work, but it is. Churches are celebrating the joy of Jesus’ victory in the war against sin, death and the devil, and the community is taking notice.
We are now preparing for our third combined Easter and I see a profound blessing and a deep need for what we are doing.
We are blessed through our unity, won for us by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and his glorious resurrection. By worshipping together, we are making a definite witness to the community, and we are trampling down barriers built up over centuries. As we treat these barriers with flippancy, we do justice to the call of Christ and we do violence to the work of the devil among us.
Pastor Rob Edwards is parish pastor for Calvary Lutheran Church Rockhampton and Yeppoon Living Waters Fellowship in Rockhampton Queensland.
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