Thursday, April 9, 2009

An Easter Encounter

A couple if years ago, I visited First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Winston-Salem for their “Easter Encounter” experience. I found it to be a simple, yet profound journey through eight scenes, each reflecting different parts of the Easter Story and the way it relates to our life.

The walk was self-directed, much like our own. We can choose how much time we are going to spend on Easter, how much of the meaning we are going to let settle in our hearts. Will you rush through Easter this year, or allow yourself time to really reflect on the resurrection?

The encounter was also meant to be experienced in its entirety. Deciding to only visit the first few stations would leave one with an incomplete picture of what the crucifixion and resurrection are about. For example, at one of the scenes you were encouraged to write down one of your sins on a piece of cloth and then carry it with you through the rest of the encounter. If you stopped there, then you’d never get to the station where you tear up that piece of cloth and lay it at the foot of the cross. Think about that, you’d leave the building, still carrying your sin around with you. What sins are you still carrying around because you haven’t fully accepted the gift of forgiveness given to you on the cross?

In addition, each station of the encounter offered an opportunity to personally respond. At one scene there was a mirror and you were asked to look into it and reflect on the depth of Christ’s sacrifice knowing that it was for you. Truly, the story of Easter does require a response from us. We cannot simply hear the story and then walk away. It forces us to make a decision to either accept Jesus’ sacrifice and forgiveness or reject it. Even people who have heard about Jesus yet do not believe in Him have made a choice.

And, finally, the encounter did not end with the resurrection. Instead, it ended with a reminder that the journey of the Holy week began long before Jesus’ last week on earth and continues today. We are a part of that everlasting journey. A part of His story.

Ask God to help you encounter His love in a real, personal way today, and that He will reveal more of Himself to you as you celebrate Easter this weekend.