Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good Friday and Easter services

Good Friday Service
"What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners' gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall my Savior! 'Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor; vouchsafe to me Thy grace."
My favorite service of the year is always the interfellowship Good Friday service -- hundreds of students and townies gather together for a wonderful service of music and Scripture readings commemorating Christ's death on the cross.

I always come away from this service blessed by the music and recentered on God's grace. Though every day should be marked by reflection upon Christ's death and resurrection and its impact on my life, I'm still thankful for the times we set aside specifically to remember Jesus' sacrifice for us.

The homily this year was given by Chuck Hetzler, who focused on Romans 5:1-2 ("Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."). One thing that really stuck with me from his message is the fact that we have peace with God both objectively and subjectively -- whether we feel it or not, the objective truth is that we have been reconciled to God through Jesus' propitiation for us on the cross. But God has also given us the Holy Spirit to confirm that truth subjectively in our lives. There are definitely times in my life when I need to be reminded of one or the other of these truths -- it's not just about "feeling it," but feeling it is also a vital aspect of my walk with God. I'm afraid I'm not really doing justice to Chuck's message, but it was a good word to us gathered there last Friday.

And what amazingly beautiful music! As a general rule, I love Jamie Rankin's arrangements -- but I particularly loved them this year. One of the solos was a contemplative version of Sovereign Grace's "Glories of Calvary" -- which, in the original, is a very upbeat contemporary praise chorus. The solo, as sung by Margaret Byron and accompanied simply by Jamie on the piano, was deeply moving. I wish I'd gotten an audio recording of it!

But I suppose photos will have to suffice...

Part of the crowd before the service began

Steve singing a solo

Dion and Griffin leading the congregational singing

Karis and John doing a Scripture reading

Chuck's homily

Easter Sunrise Service
"Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save: Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!"
Bright and early on Easter Sunday morning, we had our annual interfellowship Easter sunrise service. And it was the warmest sunrise service we've had in all the years I've gone to this service! Which is to say -- still pretty chilly at the beginning, but nice and warm and golden by the end.

During this service, we have Scripture readings outlining the events of that first morning after the resurrection, acappella congregational singing, and communion. It's a wonderful way to celebrate the fact that Christ is risen!

It was a little early for Joshua...

About half of the crowd in the early dawn light

Bill giving a brief message prior to serving communion

Singing as the sun rose over the horizon

Breakfast and Baptism Service
"'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed."
Immediately after the sunrise service, we all headed over to Dillon Gym for a bagel breakfast prior to the baptism service. One of the (many) things I love about these interfellowship events is getting to hang out with friends who are more involved in other groups, whom I don't get to see as often. It's wonderful when the larger body of Christ on campus comes together in fellowship!

How parents of a newborn manage to eat breakfast...

And the baptism service was such a beautiful time of encouragement. Five students were baptized this year, and each of them shared about the work God had done in their lives. I always love being at this service, hearing new believers make a public profession of their faith. Congratulations again, Ben, Carola, Natalie, Jinju and Victoria!

Ben Farkas '10, sharing his testimony

Carola Hernandez-Cappas '11, being baptized by Chuck Hetzler

Natalie Kim '11, sharing her testimony

Jinju Pottenger '10, being baptized by Blake Altman

Victoria Tan '11, being baptized by Bill Boyce

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

-- 1 Corinthians 15:54-57