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Easter in Boston

Filed under: — jen d @ 10:23 am

Easter came early this year, and with it another church musical program. (I hesitate for many reasons to call them “cantatas” ;o) I rushed. I worried. I made programs (too many) and harrassed all of our participating members with daily (sometimes hourly) e-mails in an attempt to encourage people to get as worked up as I was about getting things done and practiced. I apologized for said e-mails, and then Pastor made me send more. I enlisted my aunt’s giant coffee urn for our breakfast buffet; bought jugs of water, ground beans, cups, sugar, and cream; was proud of myself for finding a coffee source for our guests; and then was promptly made a fool of when I discovered there were no feasible electrical outlets in all of our “fellowship hall” (a large room used for goodness-knows-what in the high school building where we meet in downtown Boston). Oh, well. Anyone really interested in coffee had already visited the Starbucks across the street, from the looks of it.

My dad came. No small bananas, that; he’s not been the “churchin’ type” for years, now; funny how all it took to get him to visit was a simple invitation, which he later sincerely thanked me for. “I don’t have anything against church,” he said to me at one point. “Just some of the pastor’s have been real dopes.” He wasn’t kidding, and I couldn’t fault his judgements. “But this guy seems alright,” he said, speaking of Pastor Bill. And I think he meant it. Later he said, “Lot’s of nice people in that place. I can see why you like to go there.” That’s no small compliment, coming from my dad. He asked about the testimonies that were shared during the program. Bruce, Felicia’s dad, made an impression. So did Felicia. “That’s really good,” he said reflectively, in response to their salvation stories. Oh, and he couldn’t help but be impressed by the fact that we don’t take public offerings. Yeah, he liked it. He even sang the hymns.

And so, despite my worries and rushings, despite my dirth of prayer, things went well. Lana, who I should have listened to about the coffee maker, scared up a fantastic breakfast buffet for our guests and church family. The little common room reverberated with enthusiastic greetings, laughter, and the general goodwill that comes when people meet around friends, family, food and worship.

In the service, we had our new digital piano. Finally free of the shackles of an inadequate, Shroeder-style keyboard, Steve (our ‘music guy’ and closet virtuoso) was able to minister with his remarkable talent with some beautiful piano arrangements of The Old Rugged Cross, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, and Christ Arose. The choir was a bit more confident this time around, but the highlight of the program was really the testimonies that were shared. You’ve already read about Mandy and Felicia, but I’ve included Bruce’s and Peng’s testimonies below. What we tried to do with this Easter program was juxtapose musical selections (choral, ensemble, or instrumental) and testimonies from members who received Christ through the ministry of the IBCB with portions of a basic Easter narrative so that certain themes of salvation, such as the love of God, Christ on the cross, and resurrection would be highlighted. Our hope was that it would minister a blessing and a reminder to those believers in attendence, as well as to preach the gospel to those unbelievers in attendence. Again, mostly despite me, I believe we reached that goal. God was glorified; the Word was preached, and our hearts rejoiced. I agree with a fellow blogger who said recently that Easter is fast becoming her favorite holiday. As a Christian, how could we not be thrilled to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior? For, if He hadn’t risen, what glory would we have in His birth? But He did rise. And He’s been making live dead things ever since.

Here are Bruce and Peng’s testimonies as shared in our most recent service:

-Bruce Taylor

“The Old Rugged Cross” is one of my favorite hymns. I’m the youngest out of 10 kids; my life started out with lots of trouble–with drugs, parties, and even jail. I was going down fast. I have three beautiful kids and I love them, and knew I needed to be an example to them. I knew that the good things in my life had to come from God. I had a friend at work, Steve, who was born again. He would minister to me, and that made me think and wonder about the Lord. Then I met John Lahoud. We talked about things like running and diet, but we also talked about the Lord. John invited me to the church’s international dinner; I couldn’t make it, but I asked if I could come to church. One of the first things I said to Pastor Bill when I walked in was, “I’m not born again, but I know I need to be.” I knew that I would become born again. I knew the Lord was working in my life, and I wanted what all of us here in this church family have: peace at heart.I believed that Christ had died on that old, rugged cross for me, and wanted to forgive my sins. I got saved. Now my kids are seeing what the Lord is doing in my life, and they like it. And that fills my heart with joy.”

-He Peng

“When I was in college, I liked to walk in the night, in the darkness, when I was feeling anxious or badly about myself. I would try and talk with someone or something I couldn’t express. I had started to think about eternity; I sincerely wanted to contribute to making the world a better place. I was confused; I had thought I had built up a very solid worldview and life standards, but as life went on, they turned out not to be as solid as I expected. I was seeking something, some power, some hope. I got to know a good friend, who’s a Christian. She got me interested in reading the Bible. Frankly, it wasn’t easy for me to believe at first, but I did want to believe that there was a God. I was not sure until I came to this church and saw the power of God–the love of God through the lives of the Christian family here. I was amazed by the love. After coming to church for almost eight months, I was saved and baptized. Now I want to base my life on a righteous base and live as a testimony of God’s love so that I might bring a little more hope to the people around me. I’m still a very young Christian. But now, I’ve got Christ to talk with when I am walking through my life.”

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