Area marks Easter with church, family

Published: Monday, April 1, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT
Caption
(Gary L. Gates – For the Daily Chronicle)
DeKalb resident Judy Sisler plays her instrument Sunday during Easter Worship at the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.

DeKALB – Dan Wynard wasn’t surprised by the top 10 Google News stories for 2012.

The pastor of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in DeKalb said he wasn’t fazed by the fact that eight of the 10 stories – ranging from Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown shootings to the Penn State sex abuse scandal – dealt with the worst of humanity.

“It’s not hard to come to the conclusion that something’s not right,” Wynard said to the churchgoers who came out to Sunday’s Easter service. “We’ve become desensitized to violence and sex that this barely registers a glimpse to us.”

Christians in the United States and around the world flocked to churches to mark Easter. Wynard compared the news people receive about tragedies to the Apostles hearing news that Jesus rose from the dead. But they were not all worried, the pastor said.

“A few of them dared to be believe,” Wynard said. “Later on that day, their hopes would be confirmed.”

For Sycamore resident Don Davidson, Wynard’s message about Easter and what it means resonated loudly.

“It makes us sit back and think about things,” Davidson said.

Pastor Lauri Allen at Peace United Church of Christ in Genoa said her Easter sermon was an extension of the lessons the Apostle Paul wrote about it.

“Take away the distractions and look at the qualities we should have in our lives,” Allen said. Focusing on qualities such as loving, fair, grateful and humility resonates today, she
added.

During his sermon at Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb, Pastor Blake Richter shared his insights from his congregation’s trip to Jerusalem. They visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which many Christians believe is the site of the resurrection of Jesus.

Richter commented on the church itself, which had been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times since its initial construction in the fourth century. Richter said the architecture of the church, which he described as messy, sometimes reflected the nature of the religion.

“There are disagreements, and they can be quite strong, but they are all built around a common core that cannot be crushed,” Richter said.

Steven Johnson, 65, of DeKalb was one of the people who joined Richter on the trip.

“It brings extra meaning to the day,” Johnson said, who added that he always attends the sunrise service at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Jeanette Biava, 55, of DeKalb, said it was her first time at the sunrise service. She said she always finds Richter’s sermons to be meaningful and relatable. And she was very excited for Easter.

“It’s a holy spiritual day for me,” Biava said. “Christ has risen and saved from our sins. It’s a joyful day for me.”

For some people, the Easter weekend is marked by family reunions. That was the case for Davidson, 78, who spent time with his children that came down from Minnesota on Saturday.

The fact that his uncle from South Carolina was returning to the DeKalb area was a great motivator for A.J. Metzler and his sister Katherine to also come home for Easter.

Metzler is studying mechanical engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while his sister attends Illinois State University. His family attended Wynard’s service.

Metzler emphasized the importance of the family, both in a personal setting and in regards to the church.

“It’s a family,” Metzler said about his faith. “We’re hear to support each other. ... It’s what being a Christian is about.”

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