My heart is so full tonight. And in more ways than one.
We had a very special and memorable Good Friday service at New Life Fellowship tonight; two, actually – at 5pm then again at 7pm. The services were in the Tenebrae style and, I must say, I’ve never experienced anything like that before. I was in the pit playing flute so I probably didn’t get the full experience but it was still quite powerful. After 7 years of attending this church, I remain utterly thankful for the ways that our community honors traditions of churches that came before us and at the same time for the new and fresh ways that we pursue God. Tonight, during one of the scenes when the crowd yelled, “Crucify him!”, I was struck deeply, transported to that place, and reminded that I participated in the death of Jesus. Tonight’s services captured those moments leading up to the death of Christ so profoundly.
It’s hard to talk about these services without mentioning, Rosy, our Pastor of Contemplative Arts. Rosy’s a former trial lawyer and artist at heart. Tonight was her brainchild and through rehearsal after rehearsal, we knew we were in for a special evening. It was going to be a holistic experience of sights and sounds. 5pm came quickly. Musicians, narrators, candles, attendees all in place, it was time to start the epic service. Then right at that moment, our main projector stopped working. Just like that, the visual aspect was stripped away from us. Several people took immediate action to fix it, to no avail. As they say, the show must go on. So on, we went. With only audio to bring us through, it actually ended up being an altogether unique experience as we went through the journey to the cross by sound.
Of course, as the service went on, the frenzy behind the scenes ensued. There was a lot of shuffling in the back to get that projector working again. Per usual, our resident fix-it man, Peter Rohdin, who also happens to be our tried and true Worship Pastor, was determined to get that projector working. As Pete Scazzero gave his message, Peter put on quite a show for those of us who had view of him in the back. In fact, it was so amusing, I couldn’t help but whip out my iPhone and videotape the fiasco:
If you can make it out, those dangling legs are Peter’s. The little clanking noises are him probably trying to replace the bulb (which didn’t even end up being the issue). To Peter, it’s just another day at New Life. Props to Felipe for being Peter’s prop. No pun intended.
Oh, I love this church so much.
And still the service continued, most people completely unaware of the frenzy. After this service, I gave Rosy a hug and asked her how she was doing. She looked relieved that it was over but overall she was calm. I sensed a kind of surrender from her; not surrendering to the aspects that fell out of her control but surrendering to God who actually is in control. It was a beautiful moment.
Then it was time for 7pm service to begin. The projector was back in order and that service went without a hitch. At the end of each service, we had 5 minutes of corporate silence. During these 5 minutes, I couldn’t help but think about the people who buried Jesus and wondered if that was the end. I sensed fear, grief, confusion, uncertainty. It takes incredible faith to believe and hope when all we see is darkness and death. But without darkness, there is no light. And without death, there is no life.
And so this Good Friday, I embrace the God who died to bring me life.