Easter Sunday “Sonrise” service April 2012

We expected the same handful of last year – 20, 30 odd people gathering at the cross on the Jesus Hill on the Longtom Pass on Easter Sunday just before 6 am. Brian and I had to rush from Dullstroom because the guest house was booked with Easter guests and we were kicked out to our Dullstroom home.

“Be there at 05:45. we told all and sundry from Lydenburg. Because the sun rises at 06:05 prompt, said Virgo Brian,” who knows.

The week before, Brian and Lucas put some hay down  – belonging to the wild horses – at the foot of the Cross. For people to sit on during the short communion service. The memory of last year’s service in bitter cold and mist, made us think up contingency plans.

God thought – let us make this man late, for his own good. Dullstroom’s petrol pumps were slower than normal. We drove the 60 km in a hurry. What if Lucas didn’t open the gate? We had to make sure that things would go well, show people where to park, be masters of ceremonies.

We forgot that it wasn’t really our show. We were merely the facilitators, the layors-down-of hay at the foot of the Cross.

On approaching we saw a large white spot. Not the hay, something else. Cars – lots of them, 40 at least, had made their way up the hill. And a long chain of people of all ages was snaking up the hill, armed with scarves and blankets and flasks and chairs as we told them two.

There was magic in the air, mixed with thick emotion, as we all approached the cross. Young, old, back, white. Anglican priest Kgosi Hendricks welcomed all to the Sonrise service. It was much much lighter than last year, and perfect weather. Kgosi said The Lord be with you – and we all knew it was true.

Doug and Sheila Starling arrived with the service booklets – way too few for the crowd. We shared in fives, and the love multiplied like bread and fish.

Anybody who want to share anything with all of us? Kgosi invited. Yes, said a young man. God has brought me here to share that I judged others – and that I should not.

God wants us, said a young young woman from Mashishing, to praise him at a higher level every day – higher than last year, higher than yesterday.

The sun lifted its head and shone on our group of possibly over a hundred people, from the east. Peace be with you, we all shared, holding hands. And we stood in two nicely disorganised queues to take communion, celebrating the rising of the Son.

Christ has risen today. Next year, there will be more of us trailing towards the Cross. Goosebump stuff. Worth way more than all the Easter eggs in Mpumalanga.

See you on Ascension Sunday at the Jesus Hill – at 06:30 on 27 May 2012.