A Shanghai church held a meditation service to commemorate the passion of the Lord on April 2, Good Friday.
In the sanctuary of Gospel Church in Pudong New Area, Shanghai, a wooden cross stood on the altar with a crown of thorns and a black gauze. Before the service, the host stated that this was a common worship both on and off the stage, which required the congregation to prepare the body and mind to participate in it.
The liturgical service lasted for more than one and a half hours, including lectionary, recitations, hymns, sermons and prayers.
Before the sermon, the congregation read John 18:1-19:42 in a dialogue manner to relive the process of Jesus' arrest, trial, and final crucifixion. The staff workers of the church played the roles of narrator, Jesus, guard, priest and Pilate, while the congregation read the words of the Jews.
After a moment of silence, Pastor Tian Feng shared on the topic of "Precious Cross" in a sermon. She began by saying that the grace of God flowed from the cross which showed His love and complete salvation. "He will save His people from their sins", was God's promise to mankind when He gave His one and only Son.
She mentioned that due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year's Good Friday was held online in which believers lacked in-person fellowship. At that time, people were cautious over this invisible new corona virus which could spread from person to person. Today, from Eve to Adam to all mankind, we cannot overcome sins which are like viruses in our minds, falling into sins without realizing them.
"In a way, the cross is like a vaccine for sins. We were so eager for the vaccine to appear during the pandemic, but now that it has appeared, we are cautiously waiting and watching," she said.
She continued, "Do you still wait and watch out for Jesus today? Although we will still be corroded by sin, we are not afraid because the Lord is in us after we confess our transgressions, similarly to being vaccinated. What we believe is that Jesus was crucified for us and was resurrected on the third day, so we will no longer be bound by sin."
The pastor pointed out that the "vaccine" for Christians was to take up their cross and to follow the Lord.
She went on to declare that God had sent the Holy Spirit to us after the resurrection of Jesus.
She claimed, "Why are we still waiting and watching? There are many reasons, but the wonderful God does not force us but just waits patiently with love. The cross makes us reflect on ourselves and analyze our sins. The cross is also a complete manifestation of God's love. "
"If there is no love, who can be close to the truth?"
She reminded the congregation to examine how much they had grown in faith and whether they had a closer relationship with the Lord by thinking about the love of the cross.
Afterwards, under the leadership of the host, the congregation prayed for the holy church of God, all the holy items and the unity of Christians, as well as for all the believers, public officials, those to be baptized, those who had not believed in Jesus, and those who were suffering.
(The original article is published by Gospel Times)
- Translated by Abigail Wu