As the first thumbnails of sunlight tip over the National Mall, American Christians from across the country will lift their voices on Easter morning.
“We believe in God the Father
“We believe in Jesus Christ
“We believe in the Holy Spirit
“That He’s given us new life.”
The anthem is inspiring, and Newsboys’ Michael Tait will lead thousands in that worshipful declaration at the Easter Sunrise Service at the Lincoln Memorial, April 5.
In its 37th reiteration, Pastor Amos Dodge and Capital Church see their work not as an event, but as an assignment from the Lord.
“We keep it pretty pure and simple,” Dodge says. “We’re there for one purpose: Not to grow our church, no political spin; we’re there to declare to the city, the nation and the world that Christ has risen.”
The celebration of life, death and resurrection has grown from just over 100 people to nearly 6,000. It’s so popular, Washingtonian ranks it as one of the top 50 things every local D.C. resident needs on his or her bucket list.
For Dodge, though, it’s not about achieving fame for him or his church. Rain or shine, he and Capital Church have made a commitment to worship the Lord there every Easter morning.
In a town known for its politics both in and out of the the Legislative chambers, the service on a sacred American memorial sparks unity.
“In a city steeped in tradition … the Holy Spirit has created another,” he says.
He cites support from the government—everyone from politicians to the National Parks Service. He jokes that friends were once told by the parks department that the only people allowed to host events on the Lincoln Memorial were presidential ones and Capital Church.
“It’s just a statement of the favor of God, the blessing of God when a band of people celebrate the resurrection, promote Jesus and not themselves, … we’re building the Kingdom every Easter morning at dawn on the Lincoln Memorial.”