It is 8:10pm. The Good Friday service at Grace is in its closing stages. This was a very special evening. Pastor Tim and Lisa McCoy handled the service so that Matt McElravy and I could focus exclusively on Easter. I can barley find the words to express my heart right now. This was without question the most moving Good Friday service I have ever been a part of.
At one point Pastor Tim read from Isaish 53 and explained the passage that says "And by His stripes we are healed." He reminded us of how forgiveness of sin only comes through the blood of Jesus. After Lisa sang a very powerful song along those lines, we sang together a series of songs about the cross. In the back of the auditorium was a white cross and at the bottom of the cross were paint-brushes and bowls of red paint. We were encoruaged as we sang corporately to go back to the cross and to paint a stripe on the white cross as a vivid reminder that "by His stripes we are healed."
I was stranding up in the mazzanine and could not control my tears as I watched our people line up to paint a stripe on the cross. I saw people weeping as they knelt in prayer and then painted a stripe on the cross. I watched as parents explained to their small children what this all meant and then helped them paint a stripe on the cross. I watched my teenage son paint a stripe on the cross. O thank you, Lord that he knows Jesus and the power of the cross.
I watched as people hugged, cried, painted and worshipped. As their pastor I know many of the stories that were represented at the cross. I know many of the specific sins that individuals have experienced. As I watched, I saw the power of Christ's forgiveness. When everyone finished I went down and painted my stripe on the cross as well.
Following that, we sang several more songs of worship and this time people were encouraged to go to one of three tables where the bread and the cup was available. I never get tired of watching that. Couples pryaing together and then taking the bread and the cup. Immediate families praying together and then taking the bread and the cup. Extended families praying together and then taking the bread and the cup. Friends praying together and then taking the bread and the cup. A group of teenage boys praying together and then taking the bread and the cup. And individuals standing alone, praying by themsleves and then taking the bread and the cup.
By the time everyone had finished and returned to their seats, you could sense genuine worship taking place in spirit and in truth in a powerful way. People lifting up their voices. People lifting up their hands. People lifting up their hearts. And why? Because...
There is a Redeemer
Jesus God's own Son
Blessed Lamb of God
Thank You O my Father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit till
The work on earth is done!