We had the Haroset and the freshly baked Matzo. All that seemed to be missing on Thursday evening, March 28, was the Palestinian outfits as approximately one hundred and thirty Sligo members, Sligo friends and community guests re-enacted Haggadah – the telling, during the Passover, of how Jehovah freed His people from Egyptian bondage. The reading of Old Testament passages in Hebrew brought a certain ‘long ago’ feeling to the evening. Worshippers eagerly followed the example of Jesus in washing each other’s feet and sharing in a ‘Passover meal’ as Jesus and His disciples did, which transitioned into the Lord’s Supper before the evening was out. Spiritually, refreshed, especially after listening to modern Mary Magdalene, Aimee Seheult, tell her moving story of breaking a bottle of perfume at the feet of one who needed deliverance, those present left this service determined to tell the news of how they were delivered from the bondage of sin by the blood of Jesus.
Friday evening’s “Journey of the Cross” was an emotional trip down memory lane for approximately 230 attendees, as some of the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus were dramatically recounted, supported by the rich music of Karla Bucklew, Monica Nowrangi, Oksana Skrypkar and Patrick Alston. Myrna Candelaria’s reading of passages from the Desire of Ages helped to recapture the agony of Jesus on Crucifixion Friday and the depth of His Father’s love for mankind. Several eyes welled up with tears as worshippers were reminded of what it took to save the world. Tears of sorrow became tears of joy as they were also reminded that the Cross means that Jesus is prepared to accept anyone who seeks Him in confession and forgive their sins, however heinous. Scores responded to an appeal to ‘nail’ their burdens, cares, anxieties and sins to the Cross by covering the wooden cross on the platform with Post-it note paper bearing their many petitions. “God was in this place tonight,” said one blessed worshipper.
Speaking on the theme for the entire weekend, “The Road Less Traveled,” senior pastor, Charles Tapp, invited worshippers on Sabbath morning to choose the road of unpopularity, hardship and sacrifice, but a road that nonetheless is paved with grace, made possible by Christ’s death on the Cross. “Grace is not getting what we deserve. Do you want what you deserve?” No one listening could have missed the powerful message in that question, which was also a salutary reminder to those who are justice-oriented that justice without grace offers no hope. Pastor Tapp enjoined worshippers to extend grace to others and treat those who have wronged us not as they deserve but as God has treated us. We all, including those who responded to Pastor Tapp’s stirring appeal, have hope because of grace.
Ce Ce Henry’s powerful rendition of “How Great Thou Art” and “Amazing Grace” provided the perfect platform for Charles Tapp’s message on Sunday morning. Fittingly titled, “The Road to Victory,” the sermon celebrated the resurrection of our Lord, which was said to be a victory not just for Jesus but for all mankind. “Christ is risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those that slept.” 1 Cor 15:20. Tapp reminded over two hundred people present that Christ’s victory over the grave not only guarantees our victory over death but also provides power for victorious living here and now. The resurrected Christ living in us transforms weak human flesh into vessels of honor and power, and changes the most desperate situation into a blessing for those who trust God.
Sligo’s annual Resurrection Weekend has become one of the Church’s primary evangelistic initiatives. Two visitors to last year’s event have become members of Sligo Church’s community. The signs for this year suggest that many of those who came from the community in response to the Church’s door-hanger card distribution and from members ‘ personal invitations are also likely to become part of our church community.
Perhaps the take-away for many from the entire weekend is the question that somehow has lingered in my own mind is, “Do you want what you deserve?” Certainly not! I want and crave what Christ offers to sinners like me as a result of His death and His glorious resurrection.
Don W McFarlane
Photos Courtesy of Eye Soul Photography, LLC
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