By Lisa Whaley
Spring is upon us.
All around us, despite our surprising March snowfall, we can still see the beginning of a new season — one already filled with the hints of vibrant forsythia, colorful red buds and sunny daffodils.
The sun feels warmer. Our days seem more hopeful. Our loads feel a little lighter.
And this Sunday, in a Tennessee tradition older than the deep roots found within Unicoi County, men, women and children will gather together at their local churches and in their homes to celebrate another re-birth so aptly illustrated in this season’s blooms.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:1-6
These verses and others like them have been read in churches — both those still standing and others that are now simply a memory — since pioneers first came over the mountains into the Valley Beautiful, commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls.
This Sunday, the celebration continues.
True, today’s gatherings may be a bit more colorful than in years past -— with brightly decorated Easter get-togethers and baskets of eggs in a rainbow of hues..
But in many ways, the core of the celebration has stayed the same. Once again, early on Sunday, families will don their finest and travel to local Sunrise services. They will attend Easter breakfasts, sing Easter-themed songs, and soak in uplifting cantatas and sermons.
They will walk along the sidewalks of Main Street in Erwin or travel along winding country roads near Flag Pond, Unicoi, Coffee Ridge and Bumpass Cove to reach church buildings small and large — buildings filled with family . . . and friends who are just like family.
And in the end, they will join hands in hope and celebration along church pews or around the dinner table.
It is this hope and this promise that is perhaps the best and longest-lasting tradition in Erwin’s Easter celebrations.
After a gray, cold winter, it is the hope of warmer days ahead. As family and friends stand hand in hand, it is the hope of a lightened load with shared sorrows, and a more abundant shared joy.
And as deadened branches burst into bloom, it is the hope of a rebirth.
Happy Easter to all of our readers at The Erwin Record. May this Sunday’s rising sun bring to each of you the hope that has long been promised.