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Easter and Passover commemorated with special observances throughout Knoxville

By Jeaneane Payne

As Jewish families observe Passover, Christians have gathered this week to remember the days of Jesus' crucifixion and burial. Passover commemorates how the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

Blood played an important part at Passover. It was by the blood of the lamb that the people of Israel had been set free from captivity. During the celebration of Passover, thousands of unblemished lambs were taken to the temple. Each lamb was carried by three men. One man did the throat slitting and skinning and two men assisted. The blood was then collected in basins by a line of priests who sprinkled it on the altar, symbolically returning to God life; the blood which belonged to him.

Knoxville has experienced many opportunities this week to remember the ministry of Jesus on earth. According to the account in the Gospels, Jesus, who was Jewish, was betrayed just hours after eating the traditional Passover meal with his disciples at a house in Jerusalem. A few hours later, he was condemned to death and forced to carry his own cross to his place of crucifixion known as Golgotha. Christians believe the blood he shed on the cross took the place of the necessity to repeatedly kill lambs as a sacrifice for sins.

Maundy Thursday services throughout the city caused us to recall Jesus' three years of ministry prior to his crucifixion. At First Baptist Church in downtown Knoxville, we witnessed a very powerful presentation of the Gospel of Mark on Maundy Thursday. This moving and dramatic performance, presented by Dr. Shiell, allowed us to relive many events that took place in the life of Jesus from his early ministry all the way up to the cross. The stage and magnificent props brought each event to life during this 2-hr drama. Forever embedded in our senses will be the aroma of perfume released into the air as Dr. Shiell recited the story of the woman who poured oil onto the feet of Jesus. Certainly we were prepared to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter morning and the new life he has so wonderfully given us.

On Good Friday we experienced the Stations of the Cross on Market Square.

"Stillness filled the heavens on Crucifixion Day. Some said it rained, but I don't know if it's true. I can just imagine ten thousand angels crying, that would seem like rain to me and you. The angels all stood ready to take Him from the tree they waited for the words from His voice. When He asked His father, 'why hast thou forsaken me?' they watched our Savior DIE of His own choice. I've never seen ten thousand angels cry, but I'm sure they did as they stood by and watched our Savior die. God turned His head away. He couldn't bear the sight. it must have looked like rain, when ten thousand angels cried!" - JoNelle Brown

"I heard an old, old story, How a Savior came from glory, How He gave His life on Calvary To save a wretch like me; I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood's atoning, then I repented of my sins; and won the victory." - Victor Perez

"Enjoyed a wonderful evening participating in Stations of the Cross on Market Square! If you have never experienced, it is a beautiful service that takes in walking the seven stations over a several block area downtown. How grateful I am to live in a country where followers of Jesus can openly worship our Savior!" - Lacy Smith Wallace

"They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him . . . It was the third hour when they crucified him. Mark 15:22-25." - Dave Jones

On Sunday, April 8, 2012, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter Sunrise Services, Sunday, April 8, 2012:

Downtown Knoxville:
6:15 a.m. - Church Street United Methodist Church, 900 Henley Street.

North Knoxville:
6:30 a.m. - Stevens Mortuary, 1304 Oglewood Avenue.
6:30 a.m. - Little Flat Creek Baptist Church, 9132 E. Emory Road.
7:00 a.m. - City View Baptist Church, 2311 Fine Ave.
7:00 a.m. - Asbury United Methodist Church, 2822 Asbury Road.
7:00 a.m. - Christ United Methodist Church, 7535 Maynardville Hwy.
7:00 a.m. - Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, 7753 Oak Ridge Hwy.
7:00 a.m. - First Lutheran Church, 1207 N. Broadway.
7:00 a.m. - Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, 7753 Oak Ridge Highway.
7:00 a.m. - St. John's Lutheran Church, 544 N. Broadway (begins in Old Gray Cemetery).
7:00 a.m. - Beaver Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Bell's Campground Baptist, Bell's Campground Methodist, Powell Presbyterian, Powell First Baptist, Powell United Methodist, Lighthouse Christian Church at Bell's Campground Cemetery, 7915 Bell's Campground Road, Powell.

East Knoxville:
7:00 a.m. - Highland Baptist Church, 6014 Babelay Road.

South Knoxville:
6:30 a.m. - Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Woodlawn Cemetery, 4500 Woodlawn Pike. Breakfast will follow at the church located at 6632 Chapman Hwy.
6:30 a.m. - Graystone Presbyterian Church, 139 Woodlawn Pike.

West Knoxville:
6:30 a.m. - Middlebrook Pike United Methodist Church, 7234 Middlebrook Pike.
7:00 a.m. - Trinity United Methodist Church, 5613 Western Ave.
7:05 a.m. - Erin Presbyterian Church on the campus of Tate's School of Discovery, Cedar Bluff Rd.
8:30 a.m. - Faith Lutheran Church, 143 Chota Rd., Loudon.

6:45 a.m. - Maryville College Campus; Lloyd Beach behind Lloyd Hall. Service is casual; lawn chairs and blankets welcome.

Smoky Mountains:
6:00 a.m. - Gatlinburg's Annual Easter Sunrise Service will be enhanced by the beauty of the Smokies when the community and its visitors gather at Ober Gatlinburg for this memorable worship service. This will be the 12th year for the mountain top services at the resort. The 30-40 minute high mountain service will be led by local pastors of the Gatlinburg Ministerial Association. Ober Gatlinburg will provide free tram rides to the mountain top beginning at 5:15 a.m. and continuing at 15 minute intervals until the service begins. Complimentary parking at the resort will be provided for those who prefer to drive up the mountain. A breakfast buffet will be available at the Ober Gatlinburg Restaurant beginning at 6:30 a.m. Menu:

6:30 a.m. - New Life Church of God, 285 Murrell Meadows Dr., Sevierville. Breakfast follows.
7:00 a.m. - St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1610 Pullen Rd., Sevierville.

Tellico Village:
6:45 a.m. - Community Church at Tellico Village. Two separate locations: Kahite Clubhouse and Rarity Bay. Breakfast offered afterwards. Call respective clubhouses to reserve.

Published April 7, 2012

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