I’m labeling this a “hike” although its more of a walk, but since the location is accessible from all over town…. as for why I’m writing about it, that should be evident. If you haven’t figured out yet that I’m a Christian, I’ve kept it hidden too long. While A Taste For The Woods isn’t a “Christian blog”, I will write about my faith from time to time, but I hope my many non-Christian friends here will find some of what I write in this post of interest.
The owner of the hostel I stayed at on Saturday night suggested guests might want to attend the Easter sunrise service at Harpers Cemetery, an annual event run by the churches in town. She suggested that even if you weren’t Christian you might enjoy the service simply for the view overlooking the confluence of the rivers. I planned on attending, and at 6 AM Sunday morning I headed off. My back was bothering me, so I carried hiking poles for the short walk, and used them to help support myself during the service. Since the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has its headquarters in Harpers Ferry this can’t be the first time they’ve seen a tired hiker with poles at a service, so I wasn’t too concerned. And I blended well into the group of about 100 people in attendance.
The service itself began at 6:30 with an invocation and singing, followed by the Gospel reading from John Chapter 20 describing the empty tomb. The three clergy, two Methodist ministers from the churches in Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, and the pastor of the Lutheran church in Harpers Ferry, spoke about the meaning of the text. The bulk of the sermon fell to Pastor John Unger of St. John’s Lutheran, and he was very personal with his presentation. Pastor Unger spoke of his own struggle with doubt; his mother died the previous year after a horrible prolonged and debilitating illness, and how not only was he wondering why God allowed this to happen, but how he could spiritually minister to his congregation with doubt in his mind.. I’ve never heard a clergyman publicly express they had even a moment of doubt, and I was moved hearing it. Pastor Unger with God’s help worked through his doubt and grief. He was in darkness, and the Light of the world shone through.
After more song and prayer the service ended. I wandered around the cemetery taking photos and thinking, Death, where is sting? Grave, where is thy victory? as the light of morning shone on me, Harpers Ferry, and the whole world.