In the days leading up to Good Friday and Easter, also called Passion Week, our church prepared our hearts in remembrance of the week leading up to Jesus being crucified on the cross for us. On Good Friday, we held a service to watch scenes from Passion of the Christ, solemnly reminding us of the day that Jesus willingly succumbed to the suffering, shame, and death.
Oftentimes, it is this message of the cross that brings much sorrow because we’re reminded of all the sin and wrongs we’ve committed. However, our pastor John gave a message that spoke of the depth of Christ’s love for us that could only be shown through the cross. Instead of being overcome by the guilt or the lies we can often believe in, such as thinking we are unforgivable for what we’ve done, Jesus’ crucifixion says differently – that He loved us so much, that even while we were still sinners, He chose to die for us, so to pay the full penalty we were supposed to pay for our sin; He took our place on the cross, so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God.
Near the end of the service, we concretely wrote down our sins and nailed them to boards, from which neon light revealed the words “forgiven” and symbolized the forgiveness we received by Jesus being nailed for us.
Easter was the day we celebrated the newfound hope we can have in the truth that Jesus not only died, but was raised back to life in three days. Instead of our usual orchestra, we had a choir sing a powerful medley of “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong, “Power to Redeem” by Lauren Daigle, and “Forever” by Kari Jobe. John then gave a message on Jesus’ resurrection - the glorious reality that Jesus defeated death, meaning that death wouldn’t have the final say in our lives, but that Jesus’ resurrection speaks a better word, and in fact, speaks the final word over death. We now are able to have joy, rather than fear, because we can have new life with God when we place our faith in Him and trust in His promises.
The band performed a special song “Hello, My Name Is” by Matthew West, as a reminder that when we hear those voices of regret and defeat, there is greater truth that God loves us and has given us a new name – child of the one true King. We then ended the service with more food and fellowship!