My First Free Easter


I remember my First Free Easter. It was in the spring of 1991 immediately after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The Bulgarian Church of God had just emerged from its underground status taking its respectful place in the Bulgarian social life. As a powerful transformational force, literally over night, the denomination rapidly grew from 800 to some 8,000 members. The First Free Easter was to be held in the largest auditorium in Bulgaria, the National Palace of Culture and Rev. Floyd Louhan traveled all the way from the United States to deliver the Easter message.

I remember clearly as our youth group from the Pravetz Church of God loaded a bus with some 80 seat capacity to travel to Sofia and to attend the service. As we arrived at the National Palace of Culture, located in the heart of Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, we were all astonished by the picture before our eyes. The whole auditorium was full with Church of God believers, as over 10,000 people had come from every area of the country to celebrate together the First Free Easter.

For us it was a miracle to see how people gather together free from fear of persecution to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It almost seemed like they celebrated their own resurrection, the resurrection of the Bulgarian Church of God, from the years of trials and persecutions under the Communist Regime.

Seventeen years have past since the First Free Easter of the Bulgarian Church of God. But I cannot help but wonder, is it time to be set free again? This time, not from the persecutions of Communism, but from our own mistakes which stop us from fulfilling the will of God on earth. After all, is not this what Easter should be all about? A celebration of being set free from fear, death and sin. And not just someone else’s, but our very own freedom from fear and sin.