Pastors reflect on Easter

PARKERSBURG – The Easter holiday has different meanings for different people and several local pastors and ministers spoke about what today means for them.

The Rev. Patrick Kerr, with Wayside United Methodist Church in Vienna, said the meaning of Easter is the possibility of new life, and the resurrection of death to life.

While there are other religious holidays throughout the year, such as Christmas and its celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Kerr believes Easter is the central point of Christianity.

“In general, Easter is what Christianity is about,” he said. “It is the formative event of all of Christianity. That’s what we focus on, it is the center of what we are as Christians.”

At Wayside, Kerr said the church spent the past week celebrating the holiday and everything that surrounds it, from activities on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to today’s regular church service celebrating Easter Sunday.

The Rev. Michael Seely, with First Presbyterian Church in Parkersburg, said that for him Easter defines the basic paradigm of all life, which is “life from death, victory from defeat, joy from sorrow, hope from despair.”

What appeared terrible – on Good Friday – actually turned into something good and hopeful on Easter Sunday, Seely said.

“I would want people to understand that change is inevitable and when you think about it, resurrection is the ultimate change,” he said.

Seely said no matter how bad things may appear, there is always hope for change to something better and more positive.

The Rev. Rich McClure, pastor of First Baptist Church in Parkersburg, said despite the commercialism of the season, he thinks the true meaning is not lost on all.

“I think most people understand what Easter means,” he said.

McClure said it is important to make sure the focus for Easter celebrations is on the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death on the cross.

Pastor Greg Varndell, with Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg, believes the meaning of Easter centers, for him personally, on the tremendous gift of love shown by God and by his son, Jesus Christ.

“It’s just a tremendous show of love that we never get over,” he said, adding that the Easter holiday is a personal high point of each year.