Saturday, April 23, 2011

Last Night's Joint Good Friday Service

Last night about a thousand people from five different churches gathered for a joint Good Friday Service in downtown Toronto. The night was hosted by the Senior Pastors of each of the five churches, who took turns reading the seven from the cross throughout the service.

Worship was led by Grace Toronto Church, and my old friend, Ian Cusson, arranged it wonderfully. The night began with a drama, followed by readings intermingled with cross-centered songs with old and new lyrics. Then Joe Boot preached a culturally engaging message on all people's liability before God, and the discovery of life and liberty in the cross of Jesus Christ.

In all, it was a great time of seeing old friends, meeting new friends, worshiping King Jesus for his cross, and making a statement to the city of Toronto that the church of Jesus Christ is united, vibrant, and present. The presence factor was greatly helped by the fact that we met at the Winter Garden Theater at Yonge and Queen, a house that is used most evenings to entertain the masses, was used last night to worship the crucified King Jesus, who died for our sins. Praise God!

One thing that struck me about the evening was the cost of Christian unity. In this internet age, and the age of rapid transportation, I'm taught that I can find a perfect fit for all of my preferences, all the time. I don't download sermons by preachers who almost connect with my personality, and I drive a long distance to get to the church of my choice. Last night's service was awesome, but it also featured some small things that I would have done just a little bit differently if I were in charge. As I walked away from the evening, I found myself wishing those few features were different, and then I caught myself: was I there as a servant or as a consumer? Was I loving the statement that unity in Christ made, or was I selfishly wishing that my preferences were all met? Especially in a gathering that happens infrequently, should not Christians delight to do things a bit differently in order to unite with brothers and sisters from different traditions, who use different methodologies and who come from slightly different cultural backgrounds? The answer to all of these is a resounding 'yes'. This of course is not to mention the fact that I can probably learn a lot from those very people with whom I differ on these fronts. I thank God for the Toronto Gospel Alliance and I hope that many such events are held in the future.

Note: Thanks to Darryl Dash for taking the great pictures!

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