Archive for Saturday, March 27, 2010

Faith Forum: What is your favorite Holy Week activity?

March 27, 2010

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It’s purely about Easter and the resurrection

The Gary O’Flannagan, pastor, Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church, 802 W. 22nd St.:

As an evangelical and a Baptist Christian, I don’t celebrate the Holy Week in the same ways my liturgical Christian friends do. I don’t celebrate Lent or Ash Wednesday or the Maundy Thursday. However, what I do celebrate with great joy and gratitude is Easter morning. I celebrate this day with a great deal of passion for two reasons, and they are very personal to me, both as a Christian and as a minister.

First is the most obvious: Easter morning is the day all Christians celebrate the historical reality of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The implications of this are obvious: Without the resurrection, Christianity would be meaningless. Because the resurrection is a true historical event, all mankind can be restored to a right relationship with God through faith and trust in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and death on the cross.

I know God personally and enjoy his presence and power in my life because of Jesus’ resurrection.

The Apostle Paul writing to the church in Corinth said, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1Corinthians 15:20 NIV.

The second reason why I celebrate Easter morning is also personal. Because of my own experience with Christ, 20 years ago on Easter Sunday I committed my life to Jesus Christ, I accepted his work on the cross as payment for my sin debt. I asked Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sins and gave him my life for his purposes and glory.

Again the Apostle Paul’s words speak volumes, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV.

Happy Easter, he is risen, he is risen indeed!

— Send e-mail to Gary O’Flannagan at gary2_1962@yahoo.com

A journey through Good Friday

The Rev. Maria Campbell, pastor, Central United Methodist Church, 1501 Mass.:

As a young girl, I would walk to church at 2 p.m. on Good Friday. Our church was a good distance from the house, so I had time to think about what would happen. I would remember the aroma of the incense that I was about to encounter. Its fragrance would permeate the room until it almost took my breath away. I was caught in the moment … hearing the story … feeling the weight of the smoke-filled air upon me … and then, the darkness. The truth that Jesus had been tortured and made to carry his own cross to Golgotha was spoken. We were reminded that Jesus chose this path for us. The words were hard to hear, even, and it was even harder to comprehend why people stood by and watched. I sat without moving a muscle. Each moment of his last hours on Earth was graphically described, with each stop along the Via Dolorosa named. As I listened to the story of Christ’s suffering, his life became real … not just a story … but the true-life experience of a person whose mission was to bring healing and wholeness to a broken world. At 3 p.m., Christ gave up his last breath. The sanctuary would become dark. The sadness would silence the congregation as we would depart.

It is hard to imagine a young girl choosing to go to a Good Friday service. But I did because each year I grew in my understanding of Christ’s sacrifice. Each year, I grew in my understanding of the fullness of God’s extravagant grace. I came to understand that Jesus chose to offer his life so that we might learn how to truly live as God desires for us to live. Each year, I walked further along in my journey to embrace the fullness of God’s love for creation. Each year, I still take my own journey to the cross during Lent so that I might experience the joy of Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning.

— Send e-mail to Maria Campbell at cumcpastor@sunflower.com.

Comments

John Kyle 5 years, 2 months ago

We use the traditional pagan symbols of eggs and rabbits to celebrate the new spring, birth and fertility. The long winter is over and the Goddess shall bless us with her rebirth!

Sorry xtians, no torture and death in our celebration.

FloridaSunshine 5 years, 1 month ago

I was raised in a denomination which didn't pay any attention to Lent, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, or even Good Friday. When I became an adult and fully accepted the blessed price our Lord paid for our salvation, I could not comprehend any denomination not "honoring" each of these events which led to Easter Sunday and His resurrection. The resurrection is certainly the cornerstone of Christianity, but now, as a long-time Christian, I find it absolutely incredible that there are Christian denominations which do not honor all He did for us before that blessed resurrection morning. Recognizing and honoring the precious days prior to Easter make the resurrection morning so much more meaningful and awesome. There's such a difference when you've experience both ways of worshipping Him, as you explain, Rev. Campbell, with such clarity...I felt I was there with you! It would be SO worth the effort if all Christian churches recognized these holy days before celebrating the resurrection. Somehow those days all lead us up to Easter morning with a more grateful heart and repentant spirit. If you haven't experienced the difference, oh, what a difference it does make to observe all the holy days!

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