By Mr. Kevin Stabinsky (IMCOM)April 8, 2010
There was no roof or walls, but that didn't keep people from gathering in "God's home" Easter morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a sunrise service at Stephens Lake on Fort Gillem.
The Easter sunrise service, in which participants celebrate Mass outside in view of the rising sun, is a religious tradition dating back to 1732, and is a powerful ceremony for believers of Jesus' resurrection, said Chap. (Capt.) Brad Godding, U.S. Army Garrison deputy chaplain, adding this belief is the foundation of Christianity.
"Without the resurrection, we have no purpose for Christianity. It is the crux of all we believe," he said.
According to the Christian faith, after spending three days in a tomb after his crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead, thereby providing the path toward salvation for all Christians who believe in Jesus and his sacrifice, Godding said.
Guest pastor E.J. Childs, pastor for Gillem Community Church, sister church to the Fort Gillem Chapel, said salvation is important because according to the Bible, Adam's (the first man) sin had offended God.
Thus, a sacrifice was needed to make amends to God.
Childs based his sermon on the Gospel of John's accounting of Jesus' final phrase during his crucifixion - "It is finished."
"What was finished' What was finished was the redemption spoken of in (the Book of) Genesis when God spoke to the serpent," Childs said.
Jesus' sacrifice and following resurrection proved he had won over death and would subsequently pass this triumph onto his believers, Godding said.
Godding and Childs thanked those in attendance for rising early to celebrate Easter.
"It's wonderful to see people rise with Christ on their minds and brave the elements to celebrate Christ," Child's said.