New Life on Easter Sunday
By Anna Douglas — The Herald Newspaper
ROCK HILL, SC — Like countless other Christians around the world on Sunday, members of Rock Hill’s First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church gathered around a flowering cross – a symbol of new life on Easter.
On Good Friday – the Friday before Easter – First ARP’s wooden cross was draped in a black cloth, a symbol of death, evil and sadness for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, said Pastor Barry Dagenhart.
On Sunday, children and adults replaced the black cloth on the cross with flowers, after hearing Dagenhart’s sermon about Jesus’ resurrection.
“It’s always a privilege to deliver the message that death has been swallowed up in victory,” he said.
“God can always take bad things and turn it into good.”
Lib Anderson, a member of First ARP for nearly 50 years, said Dagenhart’s message helped her remember “what our savior has done for us.”
She and her husband, Spencer, attended the church’s early service and came back to join in the flowering of the cross.
Many of the church’s children spent the last three weeks watching caterpillars build cocoons, hoping they would hatch as butterflies in time for Easter Sunday.
First-grader Ann Marie Russell’s caterpillar hadn’t hatched yet, but she and her mom, Melissa Russell, helped the rest of the First ARP congregation decorate the cross with flowers.
A few of the butterflies were ready on Sunday. First ARP Christian Education director Connie Kiser helped the children hold the butterflies and place them gently on the flowering cross.
Observing the caterpillars helps the kids understand Easter’s meaning, she said.
“We remember how Christ is going to give us new bodies, how he’s going to change us,” Kiser said. “The caterpillars remind us how we’re going to change from these earthly bodies to our heavenly bodies.”
A chilly spring is probably the reason most of the kids’ caterpillars are still in their cocoons, Kiser said.
“Usually, we have lots of them and they’re flying around…but the children do love it, and it’s just a wonderful reminder of the new life of Easter.”