AN ATMOSPHERE of joy prevailed at churches across the Northern Rivers yesterday as Christians celebrated Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday is traditionally the most important date on the Christian calendar, marking the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion in the first century AD.
Bells tolled at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Lismore yesterday morning to celebrate Easter Sunday, as parish member Eric Pearce enthusiastically welcomed members of his church family.
“Happy Easter! Jesus is alive! He is risen!” he exclaimed to each person who filed into the church.
Mr Pearce said Easter Sunday celebrations were a crucial part of his belief in the God of the Bible.
“This is probably for me even more exciting than Christmas,” Mr Pearce said.
“Jesus was crucified on Friday, but is alive today.”
“It is a most exciting time for every believer.”
Inside, Rev Mark Harris explained the Easter message to regular church members and visitors.
“Jesus is the perfect Son of God. He came to Earth to pay the just penalty for our sin, so that all who put their faith in Him might have eternal life,” he said.
“Jesus is the only person in the whole of history who has dealt with our sin problem. He paid for it so we can have peace with God.”
After Rev Harris’s talk, the church placed brightly coloured flowers on a large cross.
At the end of the service, parish member Karin Wiersma summed up the mood in the church.
“I’m very happy Christ died for us,” she said.
“I feel very happy today.”
Joel Gosper also enjoyed the upbeat mood of Easter Sunday.
“It really is a celebration,” he said.
“That God would give His own son shows the power of the gospel message.
“And today we see the fulfilment of the gospel message.”
Members of the Catholic denomination also marked the Easter weekend with services starting on Saturday night.
Father Anthony Lemon of St Finbarr’s Church in Byron Bay said it was a big weekend for people of Christian faith.
“It’s really the summit and source of the whole year,” he said.
Father Lemon said he was hopeful both Christians and non-Christians could take the message of the Bible from the Easter weekend.
“God loves people. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, God loves us,” he said.
“And we’ve all got a chance to be loved by God. He said I’ll love you at the beginning, throughout your life, and at the end.”