Easter Hymns have always been an important aspect of Easter in Liberty. My childhood favorite was, "Low in the Grave He Lay", "Christ The Lord is Risen Today" was a close second and is my adult favorite Easter hymn. These hymns resonnated well in the Liberty EUB Church on Easter Sunday.
The community often got an early start at the Easter Sunrise Service sponsored by the community churches in the township (Bearcreek Church of the Brethren) and villages of Ellerton and Liberty. This service often was held at the Jefferson High School stadium, with 3 crosses propped on the field in front of the bleachers. This was a great time to see school friends like Donnie Smith, Mike Maxwell and Dan Maxwell and their families, appreciating the community pastors gifts and enjoying the Easter breakfast together in the school cafeteria.
We went to early service followed by Sunday School where we sang more Easter hymns and, in later years, went to late service, too. The choir, which I later joined, would sing at both services on Easter Sunday, affording four sessions of worship and singing. This was uplifting and fulfilling. It felt right.
Jesus Lives! was the message for all. The story of the Resurrection was powerful. The empty tomb and Jesus appearing after "He arose the victor from the dark domain" were joyous testimony that "He lives forever with His saints to reign". Children could understand that and Believe! We would sing together in the closing hymn, "Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection Thou, Alleluia!" Amen.
The specialness of Easter was enhanced by the childhood delights of Easter Eggs and Easter Egg hunts. The chocolate Easter bunnies added to the tastiness of the day. Were the hollow ones better than the solid milk chocolate? The yellow chickies were made of marshmallow like material, pretty but not as tasty as the chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Candy pleased us, but we also got new clothes for Easter. Nice tradition, well supported by having both sets of grandparents living next door and across the street.
The whole family got together at one of the grandparents homes after church. Art and Mary, Bill and Fanny, Esther and Scud, Jerry and Joy, Mike and I gathered for an amazing feast and conversation. Ollie and Clarbel Webb were often included as members of the family, too. Grandpa Jonas made the most incredible mashed potatoes and Grandpa Clayton could make delicious swiss steak. The ham and green beans were great, too. But the pies were a special delicacy.
The Easter message for children in Liberty was magical for me. It wasn't the candy, the egg hunt or even being with family, all of which I enjoyed. Jesus died and rose from the dead for me. And you, too. We are forgiven.