2 April, 2016
Puebla del Rio, Sevilla
Thoughts on this Good Friday
For a missionary on the foreign field, each year at Easter time there is a desire to do things memorably and effectively so that people will remember the ways that God spoke to them on those days of remembrance. I had this in mind this Christmas, when we sought to “go big” with a Christmas program that we would put on in more than one location, including the City Hall theatre and hundreds of flyers and posters printed and distributed. Now for Semana Santa in Puebla del Rio we also sought to make it very special, and looking back it was special indeed.
Part of our decision to do things differently for Holy Week came from feedback. One suggestion that came up was showing the movie “God’s not Dead” on Jueves Santo. To some extent I liked the idea, as on March 12th we installed the church projector from the ceiling and that same day we re-wired the church PA, so these improvements did make our sanctuary better fitted for showing movies. Then I did a test run on Palm Sunday, showing the clip of Palm Sunday from the Jesus Movie on the church screen during the morning service, and the sound and picture were great. So it turned out that we showed our youth the new Christian movie “Do you Believe” on March 16th, and they were very into the parallel plots and the story line of the power of the cross in this movie. It was so meaningful for them that I decided that this had to be the movie we showed during Semana Santa, as it dealt much more with the cross of Christ than God’s not Dead does. So on Palm Sunday we went announcing the Good Friday service that would include a showing of the movie “Do you Believe?” On Viernes Santo I prepared a crown of thorns with thorns we picked by the river. I couldn’t believe what terrible thorns we found down by the Guadalquivir River. They were perfect for the Crown of Thorns to put on display for Good Friday. Sara helped me twist and tie the crown of thorns when we got home from walking by the river, and more than once in the project, it drew blood from my fingers, even when using gloves and pliers and quality kitchen scissors (which were broken in the process!).
Viernes Santo y Domingo de Resurrecion en La Puebla del Rio
So when I arrived early for church on Friday I began by putting a table in the front of the sanctuary. I prepared the communion elements and placed them in the front on the table. I needed a purple sash to symbolize the purple robe draped on Jesus during his trial. I found a purple piece of material in a bag of Christmas program costumes that did the trick. On the purple sash I carefully placed the crown of thorns and three jumbo size mails that I found at a hardware store, to symbolize the nails driven through Yeshua’s wrists and feet. At the beginning of the service I read Luke 22 and asked for our congregation to think about the sacrifice of Messiah, all that he suffered for us Good Friday, then I asked those who were in right standing to take communion, to first feel the crown of thorns and feel the nails pressed against against their hands or finger tips, before taking the elements of communion. It became a very solemn and serious Lord’s Supper and certainly one of the most memorable from my time in Sevilla. Afterwards we put on the movie, which was equally heart-wrenching. It was just really well made and appropriate for our focus on the work of the cross. When I gave my closing thoughts after the movie, for us to not leave indifferent to the sacrifice for Christ for us, there were women weeping. It made me think of the women who went to Jesus’ tomb after his crucifixion. I think for a moment we were feeling something of what they were feeling.
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