The other day I found this story from 2014 by Ben Patterson:
“Sometimes I think the church has forgotten how to celebrate, how to party. Maybe it is because we have forgotten what Jesus has done for us. Or maybe it’s because the stories in the Bible have gotten old and we haven’t been around any new believers to remind us of the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
That reminds me of what happened to a tribe in the jungles of East Asia, when missionaries showed them the “Jesus” film. Not only had some of these people never heard of Jesus, they had never seen a motion picture. And on that one unforgettable evening, they saw it all – the gospel in their own language, visible and real. Imagine again how it felt to see this good man Jesus, who healed the sick and was adored by children, held without trial and beaten by jeering soldiers. As these East Asians watched this, the people came unglued. They stood up and began to shout at the cruel men on the screen, demanding that this outrage stop. When nothing happened, they attacked the missionary running the projector. Perhaps he was responsible for this injustice! He was forced to stop the film and explain that the story wasn’t over yet, that there was more. So, they settled back onto the ground, holding their emotions in tenuous check. Then came the crucifixion. Again, the people could not hold back. They began to weep and wail with such loud grief that once again the film had to be stopped. The missionary again tried to calm them, explaining that the story still wasn’t over, that there was more. So, they composed themselves and sat down to see what happened next. Then came the resurrection. Pandemonium broke out this time, but for a different reason. The gathering had spontaneously erupted into a party. The noise now was of jubilation, and it was deafening. The people were dancing and slapping each other on the back. The Christ is risen indeed! Again, the missionary had to shut off the projector. But this time he didn’t tell them to calm down and wait for what was next. All that was supposed to happen – in the story and in their lives – was happening.”
When was the last time you and I cried when we heard the story of the crucifixion? When was the last time we shouted for joy over the resurrection? Shouldn’t we get excited about a God who loves us so much that Jesus came to live, die and rise again for you and me?! That is why we call the service on Easter: “An Easter Celebration!”
I hope we will all experience the wondrous love of God with this year’s Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter services as we once again hear, and celebrate, the glorious news:
“Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Grace, Peace, and Love,