What a day.
I awoke Sunday morning at 6am and headed downtown. The evangelical churches in Ottawa have held a yearly Easter sunrise service on Parliament Hill for nearly 40 years – skipping only last year because of a perceived lack of interest which, as they learned in short order, was a misperception. When I arrived (about 15 minutes early) there were about 20 people gathered at the foot of the steps to the Peace Tower. By the time the service was over, there had to be about 200. The speaker was Brian Stiller, formerly the president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, currently president of Tyndale Bible College and Seminary in Toronto, and an excellent preacher and dissector of Canadian culture. Broadly speaking, the short message was about the significance of Easter for Christians in the public square.
From there I walked up Bank St. to my own church, and attended the first of the three Easter services, at 8:30. The sermon, titled “Easter: The Eternal Holy Day” was an exposition of Revelation 5, specifically the worthiness of Christ, the Lamb that was slain, to break the seals on the scroll:
- Jesus is worthy because he is the crucified Lamb.
- Jesus is worthy because he is the conquering Lion.
- Jesus is worthy to be the centre of world history.
- Jesus is worthy to be the centre of your life.
After the first service, I joined the choir singing the anthem at the beginning of the second and third services, skipping out in between for a quick breakfast. Then it was home for a brief respite (all of 15 minutes) before heading out to my Bible study group, which was surprisingly (to me) well attended for an Easter afternoon.
Next, it was back to church again for rehearsal and the evening service, which presented the choir cantata Believe. Being a Clydesdale arrangement, it featured many Notes of Unusual Pitch for us poor basses. My lungs hurt.
Finally, I spent a couple of hours soothing my tortured throat with bubble tea and pho at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant with some friends before going home and crashing.
Next year I’m taking some of Easter off . . . Most of the day was fun and enjoyable, but it was just too long without a break.
On the other hand, by virtue of showing up at church at 8:30, I coincidentally hooked up with an old friend who happened to be in Ottawa for the weekend and had come to Easter service at my church simply because it was closest to his hotel. If I’d started later in the day, I would have missed him entirely. (Hi Mark, if you’re reading.)