The last 5 days have seen me at 4 services. I attended a Thursday night service where the Lord’s Supper was observed. It was a very nice service in remembering the new covenant that Jesus instituted.
Sunday morning, I got up early and went to the central Orthodox Church in Donetsk. Orthodox believers head to the church with baskets in hand. These baskets contain eggs, Easter bread called Paska, a bottle of wine, along with other items. More info here.
I sat outside the church, observing the people. Many already had their baskets ready, while others prepared them and checked them at the church. After ensuring all is ready, they stood in a large circle on either side of the church, waiting for the priest to come by and bless them.
In the picture you may notice the priest in the black robe, in the center of the picture. He douses the people and their baskets with what they consider holy water. The guy to the right of him is accepting donations in the large box around his neck.
I left the Orthodox church and drove over to Gethsemane Church. It is the evangelical church that I attend when I am not speaking in other churches. They had started at 7 a.m. When I arrived there were few places to sit. I actually stood for over 30 minutes before finally finding a seat.
Pastor Anatoliy preached a great message of that blessed Easter morn more than 2,000 years ago and the news that the Marys brought back after finding the tomb empty. Pastor Anatoliy was interrupted during his sermon by a couple of young people who came forward to repent and receive Christ! It was a beautiful picture!
The choir had prepared some wonderful music that I greatly enjoyed. One of the young men even played the bass guitar during one song that took me by surprise. It was the first time for me to see such at a more “traditional” church in Ukraine.
I finally arrived home just before noon and had lunch and rested a tad before I headed back to Gethsemane for a drama that they were to present that afternoon. Since I know several people in the choir I didn’t want to miss it!
It was evident that they had spent lots of time preparing the gospel message. The music and message told the story so well and was received by the audience. It was fitting to end Easter Sunday.
Since Easter is on Sunday and a national holiday, Monday is a government holiday. So the church held a special service for children and invited children from orphanages to be in the service. The church children prepared some special music that I really enjoyed.
Overall, it was a great weekend of celebrating the the Resurrection of Jesus!