The Hope of Easter
Forty years ago, Pastor Amos Dodge and his wife, Sue saw a dream come to fruition. In 1978, Capital Church began to host a sunrise service on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC. What began with 120 people has grown to a crowd of thousands. This momentous event is even listed as one of the top four things to do in the city! The students of Ignite Life Pacific College have the incredible blessing of getting to serve alongside Capital Church and we asked Whitney Weiss to tell about their experience.
The evening sets in and the students line up. One by one we enter the bus. Excitement fills the air as we pull away from campus en route to Washington D.C. Freshman ask the older students what to expect. “No sleep and a once in a lifetime opportunity to see hundreds come to know Jesus.” This is the simple answer I always give in hopes of preparing them for what is to come.
We arrive at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to see trucks lined up, ready to be unpacked. Students begin to congregate in anticipation of helping in some way. Everything, from the smallest pot of flowers to the giant pieces of sound equipment, is set out to be sniffed by the canine unit. Students haul all the expensive production accessories, lay out a bunch of yummy food and warm beverages, meticulously arrange thousands of chairs, all with a servant’s heart and a prayerful spirit.
After hours of setting up, everyone working together to accomplish the goal, each person with a different task, we pray. Students walk amongst the chairs, on steps, through the grass, across the stage, around the monument praying for the people who are to come. Worship music plays as we, as a unified group of young adults, pray for the salvation for those to come, bondages to be broken, miraculous healings to be seen. Then, we depart.
Some walk around to see the city as it sleeps. Others go to the bus in hopes of getting a couple hours of rest. Those who can, photograph the beauty in front of them to look back on and remember what they saw. We look at our nation’s capital, see the sights, walk as far we can to see as much as we can before returning to the Lincoln memorial to see the sunrise and hear about the Son rise.
Standing at the foot of the steps handing out bulletins, greeting people as they come. Some guests are dressed in their Sunday best while others jog in from their morning workout. Generations of people coming together; all of them different shapes, sizes, colors, denominations, political views, no two exactly the same coming together to sit and hear about our risen Savior. The choir sings, the horns blow, the beat plays and everyone stands to praise God together. When Pastor Amos comes up to give his message, a hush falls over the crowd. After he prays, hundreds walk through the resurrection doors to receive a Bible and invitation to return to church. This is what it is all about. To see something similar to Acts 2, in the modern day. Watching the Holy Spirit move in our nation’s capital.
Why do we do it? Stay up all night. Set up chairs in perfectly straight lines. Connect hundreds of wires. Hand out thousands of bulletins. Be so exhausted we all fall asleep the moment we sit down. There is only one answer; only one thing that makes everything worth it. Seeing hundreds stand up, walk through the resurrection doors and receive the gift of eternal life. That is everything. That is why I love Easter in D.C.
Whitney Weiss is a Sophomore student from North Texas. Her goals in life include pursuing the Lord passionately, showing the love of God to children of all ages, and to become the best at whatever God has for her. Though she is unsure what the future holds, she is confident that wherever the Lord is calling her, it'll be an incredible adventure.