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Easter Celebration in Shanxi Church

Easter Celebration in Shanxi Church

Canteen workers of Linyi County Church, Yuncheng, Shanxi Province, sang hymns on the stage to mark Easter on April 4, 2021. Canteen workers of Linyi County Church, Yuncheng, Shanxi Province, sang hymns on the stage to mark Easter on April 4, 2021.(Zhang Mengyue)
ByZhang Mengyue, Zhang Xiaohua April 14, 2021
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Marking as the traditional Chinese Qingming Festival, April 4, which this year also happens to be a Sunday, was a day for believers to celebrate Easter. On that day, I went to Linyi, Yuncheng, Shanxi Province, and visited churches in the county and several surrounding towns to celebrate Easter Sunday.

Linyi County is located in the southwest of Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province, with a total area of more than 1,339 square kilometers (0.33 acres) and a population of more than 600,000. In ancient times, it was known as Xiuyang, and the state of Yi was established in the Xia Dynasty. During Spring and Autumn, the great merchant Yidun raised flocks of sheep here and became the originator of commerce by dealing in jewelry. The name of the county, Linyi, was formed in 1954 from the former towns of Linjin and Yishi.

According to Elder Yue Yinshan, head of Linyi Christian Church, the county chapel, built in 1996, has more than 660 square meters, with a congregation of more than 4,000 believers. During the pandemic, the church stuck to uninterrupted live online worship, and this Sunday and Easter service was the first congregational service since Christmas. On the same day, the church in Linyi also held a cultural performance to celebrate Easter. Since then, services have resumed in all the urban and rural activity venues in the Linyi area after Easter.

Brothers and sisters from all over the county arrived at the church for morning prayers at 6 am on Sunday, before the daybreak. In the church, many believers knelt down to pray and sobs were heard from time to time. Afterward, everyone took to the stage to sing hymns, some in solo, some in groups of three or five, and some of the church canteen workers dressed in chef's aprons, sang hymns together.

The Easter Sunday service started at 8 am with a full house in the chapel. Pastor Yang preached a sermon titled “The Morning of Resurrection”, using scriptures from Matthew 28:1-7. He said that the world was shocked by what happened on that morning, when the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, defeating the power of Satan's death and accomplishing a great work of salvation.

After the service, Pastor Yang led the author to drive more than 40 miles to the Christian Church in Miao Shang Township in the county. After an hour's trek, I finally arrived at Miao Shang Church, which is situated in a corner of the township. The believers of the church performed a number of wonderful programs such as "The Most Beautiful Heaven" and "Mary of Bethany". On the stage, traditional flowery clothes from the Jinnan region and Xinjiang and Tibetan-style costumes were presented one after another.

One playlet, "Mother-in-law is also a mother", written and performed by the church's elderly sisters, tells the story of a daughter-in-law who treats her in-laws differently from her own mother, which once brought her family to a break up; but she later repents in time after her believing mother preaches the Gospel to her, and finally lived in harmony with her mother-in-law. The performance ended at around 1 pm, with many elderly believers in their sixties and seventies continuing to rehearse and perform, even though they had missed lunch. According to Pastor Yang, the performances were written and performed by local believers, the majority of whom are farmers working in the countryside and have taken time out of their busy schedules to rehearse their programs.

After that, I travelled by car to Linjin township, some 20 miles away from Miao Shang township, where the church also held an Easter service with over 200 believers attending and performing a cultural program. Elder Yue Yinshan from the Linyi church came all the way from the county to baptize the catechumens.

(The original article is published by Gospel Times.)

- Translated by Wylie Sun 

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