Events – Folder

REDEFINING RESURRECTION

The season of Lent has always been for me a curious time of mixed emotions and beliefs, going back to my upbringing in the Independent Bible Baptist Churches.  The concept of this holiday, with its focus on sacrifice, death, victory and ultimately eternal life, mixes the historical with the fantastic.

A large part of the teaching of my youth was the assertion that in order to win converts to Christianity, early religious leaders had taken their belief in Jesus’ literal death and resurrection and placed it on the calendar where the pagan rites of spring were already being celebrated.  This was done in an effort to be relevant to the cultures into which the early Christian missions were destined.

Thus, there was the warning from our church that while the virgin birth and the resurrection—two of the great mysteries of the Christian faith and of the historical figure of Jesus—were to be seen as literal events, we could not know for certain at what times of the year they had actually occurred.

Jesus’ birth as a human, death from human violence, then proof of his immortality through a miraculous resurrection, seemed to still be coated like sweet Easter candies in order to appear more palatable to the pagan revelers.  It seemed as bizarre as an all-knowing white-bearded man (also, apparently, immortal) who drove flying reindeer through the night skies—or as odd as an elusive, seasonal, egg-laying rabbit.

But like so many confusing and conflicting concepts we are exposed to as we mature, the God of my adult life has been revealed to me in far different ways than I was taught—or could have imagined. Perhaps, in the end, I am content to believe that it’s more meaningful for me, like the writer of II Corinthians, to “walk by faith, not by sight.”

For me, and for those who have come and gone during my time, I believe that there is something beyond this life, and maybe a part of that “something” involves all the answers becoming clear in God’s own time.

I have seen more than enough evidence of God’s resurrection power in my own life.  As I anticipate another celebration of this season, I find peace in knowing that resurrection is here and now, offering us all the opportunity to take what was broken and make it whole, what seemed dead to live again.

That is, to me, the lasting legacy of the resurrection.  I pray that it may be yours as well.

 

FINDING CONNECTIONS

As our 2012 retreat gets closer, I have been thinking more about the connections that I have in my life both personally and spiritually.  We are human, people need to be connected with other people to survive.  We are like trees that need to be connected to the earth for nutrition and a kiss from the sun to survive, if not the tree begins to lose its leaves and eventually dies.  If we do not have connections in our lives, we slowly wilt away.  We become hollow, like a dried out tree.

During First Tuesday, I shared my experience with depression.  Between the long work hours, traveling, and personal tragedies, depression set in and made itself a part of my life for three years.  In the beginning I was so sick I didn’t notice that I had no connections in my life, personally or spiritually.  I was hollow on the inside.

As I struggled to get “me” back, I started noticing how devoid of emotional connection I truly was.  My family and friends didn’t know how to help or what to do, and that helplessness caused them to became distant during those three years.

When my family started feeling comfortable with me again and had a better understanding of my illness, there was a noticeable change—more hugging and closeness.  With each hug my body had a reaction, like a tree being watered back to life, the tinglings of emotions began to reawaken within me.

As for my soul, it started to heal when I joined this church.  A class on prayer taught by Denise and Pastor Wes’s bible study class gave me the ability to see that God had always been there with me, I just didn’t have the awareness of that Sacred presence.  This church and the people in it watered my soul!

Recently, I attended a conference for LGBT youth.  I had the opportunity to listen to some of these young people share their experiences of being different and unable to make connections with kids in their schools.  They shared how this made them feel useless, shameful, depressed, and worthless.  These negative feelings and emotions drained the life out of them.

They told their stories of finding Gay-Straight Alliance groups or other supportive allies that brought life and self-esteem back to them. This just reinforced what I had already experienced—connections, we all need them!

What are you doing to get connected?  Join us for retreat!  I’m looking forward to seeing “What Happens When the Spirit Comes!”

 

Behind the Scenes with In Remembrance 2012

Elizabeth Ford Children's Church Music Ministries

During the last supper, how did Judas respond to Jesus? 

Did he separate himself from the group?  Did he just play along? 

If Jesus had gone to sit alone with him, how would Judas have responded? 

These are just a couple of the questions that Kyle and I talked in circles about during our meeting today.  In order to “block” the characters (assign their movements on the stage) Kyle and I really have to get inside their heads.   Throughout the four years we have been doing this process, we’ve stumbled into many different dimensions of who these disciples could have been.

My favorite part of directing this show is making these historical figures come to life.  After years of hearing this story, I love dusting these people off and giving them a voice.  I also love that we don’t create the same people every year.

When studying these characters, we really rely on the lyrics they sing.  This year, two-thirds of our songs are new to the show.  You’ll experience this story through the eyes of Jesus’ closest friends . They’ll have a voice and a perspective that is rarely, if ever, shown in a Passion production.

The setting also plays a much more crucial part in this year’s story.  We are really focusing on the political turmoil that was constant in these people’s lives.

I can’t help but admit that this story is also very driven by our actors!  Admit it, you’re totally excited to see the warmth and love that Kevin will bring this year as our “ginger-Jesus!”  In addition, we have a Judas who literally ROCKS, a Mary with a resume impressive enough to make Kyle and I blush, and Mathieu Burton returning to play an entirely different kind of character.  Siobhan again plays a strong female lead.  This time, she’ll be the strength of the group…and in fabulous shoes as always!

Kyle and I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for the support you’ve shown us and the entire team this year.  We feel the congregation is supporting us more than ever before.  If you’re not involved yet, and would like to be, we certainly have a place for you.  We really want this church family to remember that this show belongs to all of us.

If you have a friend or family member who you’ve been wanting to invite to church, this show will be the perfect opportunity!