HPUMC celebrates Easter Sunday at Moody Coliseum
On Sunday, March 27, 2016, Highland Park United Methodist Church celebrated Easter worship with two amazing services at Moody Coliseum on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
The two services brought together the six worship venues of HPUMC's campus in one building. The blend of styles were brought together in music by the 110 member Chancel Choir and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra along with the members of the Cornerstone band.
This year we welcomed over 12,300 people through the doors of Moody Coliseum with another 2,000 worshiping online. To help move things along smoothly, there were 230 greeters and ushers welcoming people through the doors. At our East Dallas campus, Munger Place Church, they celebrated with over 3000 of their neighbors at Garrett Park. And at Church at the Square, our CitySquare campus, they worshipped with 50 people.
Easter legacy at Moody
With the exception of the past several years, HPUMC has a long history of celebrating Easter at Moody Coliseum on the campus of SMU.
In 1957, SMU welcomed HPUMC's Easter service to their new field house for the first time. The move was originally meant to be a temporary measure while the sanctuary was under construction.
Senior Minister at the time, Dr. Marshall Steel saw the importance of having everyone worship together. As 10,000 members and visitors filled the coliseum, it proved the service was a success and from that a new tradition was born.
"It is a blessing for me personally, to have us all under one roof," said Rev. Paul Rasmussen. "From our East Dallas venue, to all of our multiple styles at our Mockingbird Campus, we're always apart; so to have everyone under roof and see the magnitude of all that God is doing at Highland Park United Methodist Church is really very special.
"Personally this building means a lot to me," explained Rev. Rasmussen. "In 1985, I was a student manager for the men's basketball team. I've been connected with the team ever since as I am now the team's chaplain."
"Easter and the resurrection is the only hope we have for salvation beyond death." - Rev. Rasmussen
Finding the light in the darkness
Easter is about the dawning of a new day and start. Rev. Rasmussen challenged the congregation at Moody to not ignore what God is doing through the light of Easter.
"Easter is really about God reaching down into darkness and yanking out the sunlight," said Rev. Paul Rasmussen. "Easter is about the dawning of a new day.
"I think most people tend to get through life having slept through the beauty of Easter. Maybe even those people that call themselves people of faith. The reality is, we often sleep through the truth and the message that is Easter."
Rev. Rasmussen stated that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, Christ, through the resurrection affords a new life for everyone.
"A moment in our life where Christ longs to extract the light and reveal it to us so that it overcomes whatever darkness has surrounded us."
Rev. Rasmussen went on to explain how the resurrection is the heart and soul of what it means to be a Christian.
Foundation of our faith
The essence of what it means to be Christian is not a book or a way of life.
"The foundation of our faith is not a book, a teaching, or a way of life; it is not even a person," said Rev. Rasmussen. "The foundation of our faith is an event; a specific and historic moment in time where Jesus of Nazareth, having been nailed to the cross, laid in a tomb, and three days later walked out.
Difference between do and done
When Jesus died on the cross, the disciples were without hope. They believed that evil had prevailed. As the Book of Mark describes, no one was betting on the resurrection to even take place. As Rev. Rasmussen explained, Mary showed up at the tomb to place spices on the grave only to find that something else had already been done.
"What would it be like in our life if we didn't go through life praising God because we had to do something simply because we were so overjoyed about what we know true about what God had done for us," said Rev. Rasmussen. "It's not about what you can do for God, it is always about what God does for you.
"You can do all you want for God. It will not grant you salvation but it will leave you exhausted. Easter reminds us that grace plus or minus anything is not grace. Jesus has already done it."