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Area churches celebrate the risen Lord
In the pulpit
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“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told” (Matthew 28:6-7 — New King James Version).
Jesus kept telling his disciples that He was going to rise. Three times in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and once in John’s gospel, He told the disciples He would be killed, but He would rise on the third day.
On that long-ago Easter morning when Jesus did exactly what He said He would do, there was jubilation and victory. Those immortal words — “He is risen” — were spoken by the angel at Jesus’ empty tomb.
Today, more than 2,000 years later, Christians around the world celebrate this event. Resurrection Sunday — or Easter, as it is more commonly referred to — celebrates Christ’s victory over death and mankind’s hope for eternal life.
The joy that was experienced when the women and disciples realized Jesus had risen still prevails. People can never forget what God did by sending His beloved Son to die for them.
Every year during the 40-day Lent season leading up to Resurrection Sunday, many Christians voluntarily undergo an intense period of praying and fasting. Many of them begin the praying and fasting on Ash Wednesday, while others have a more limited period of fasting.  Whatever the timeframe, they realized there is a more serious reason for the celebration of Easter. The main focus is on the fact that “he is risen,” as stated in the gospels.
Resurrection Sunday ends a week of many special worship services held during Holy Week, which started a week ago with Palm Sunday.
Many churches were decorated with Easter lilies and palm leaves. Stacy’s Florist in Flemington has a tradition of donating palms to the local churches for that day.
Some churches had daily prayer and special services during the week. On Thursday evening, First Zion Baptist Church in Riceboro and the Midway United Congregational Church planned to celebrate their annual Maundy Thursday services.
Two days ago, churches throughout the community celebrated Good Friday with the program of the seven last sayings of Christ on the cross. Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist in Allenhurst planned to have services at noon, while Beach Hill Baptist Church in Midway — one of the first churches in the community to have the seven last sayings program — had a program set for 7 p.m.
Other churches that held evening programs included Faith Temple Holiness Church in Walthourville, Pleasant Grove African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and Liberty Christian Fellowship in Hinesville, and Pleasant Hill Baptist and St. Philips Baptist in Ludowici.
St. Peter’s AME Church in Midway was scheduled to have a 24-hour prayer vigil from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Saturday. Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple in Hinesville was scheduled to have a baptism, prayer and special communion service at 6 p.m. Friday.
When Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, there was spiritual and physical darkness all over the land, but on Resurrection Sunday, there was light.
The good news of His triumph over death still resonates with us today and is the main reason why we celebrate.
Early on Resurrection Sunday morning, churches meet again for sunrise services. These services normally are held at 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. People come to rejoice because Jesus rose.

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