2017 Gracias Choir Easter Cantata Tour
Leaving behind the wonderful memories of the Christian Leaders Fellowship, on March 12th, Sunday, the Gracias Choir got on the bus early in the morning for the Easter Cantata.
On this day, there were two Easter Cantatas taking place, once at 11am and another at 5pm, at Manhattan, New York.
Most of the venues for the Easter Cantata have no stage so there is no place the props nor is there any special lighting or effects to draw attention. The performance lasts for one hour. The performance therefore takes place very close to the audience. The scenes which require a lot of space (The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ) are shown on a screen but despite this, the video and the music of the orchestra at the venue are completely in time and without fault. The audience can experience all the expressions of the Choir and the sounds that they make including their breathing. Therefore, the audience are touched even more and they are quickly drawn into the true message of resurrection.
Easter Cantata Number 9: “We hope that this is a start of a long relationship.”
This church was founded in 1865 by Pastor William Booth in London, England and is a famous church that has branches in 126 countries. It is well-known to us as the Salvation Army. The ninth church to host the Easter Cantata was the Salvation Army in Harlem, Manhattan.
“Everyone, thank you for coming! I hope that the events of today will be the start of a long relationship between our mission and yours!”
Pastor Antonio, (Senior Pastor), offering to shake hands, had already opened his heart even before the start of the performance.
After the performance, Pastor Terry Henderson of Good News Mission New York Church preached the message of the gospel through Hebrews 9:11-12.
“Folks, everything on this land is temporary. However, in heaven, everything is eternal. That is why Jesus achieved the eternal redemption in the tabernacle of heaven. When your products are made, rather than who made it, where it was made is more important. That is why on labels of most products it says “Made in…” Your salvation has been perfectly achieved in the eternal heaven. That is why our salvation is eternal.”
After the message Pastor Antonio said,
“I am so thankful to Pastor and to the Choir. As you said, our sins have been washed through the blood of Jesus. If God says that we are righteous, then we are righteous and if God says that we are holy, then we believe that we are holy!”
He also asked Pastor Terry Henderson to pray for the church.
“The Salvation Army began in 1865 in London, England. After establishing this church, Pastor William Booth, not only spiritually, but physically helped those people who have difficulty eating and provided help to those in need and those who have no accommodation. He helped the spiritually poor as well.
Actually, for the past year, I have been continuing to have Bible Study with Pastor Sung Yun Jo. A year ago, I was stood at a corner in front of the church. They were handing out leaflets and naturally we began our conversation and had lunch together. We also shared our contact details. He came to our church often so we began to have Bible Study together. We were texting one another and he invited me to the Gracias Choir Christmas Cantata last year, so I went with my wife and a few members of the church.
I saw the Cantata, in person, for the first time today and I had prayed that your mission and our mission could maintain our relationship for a long time. A few pastors that are higher up in our mission came to today’s performance and they really opened their heart and promised to invite you to a bigger venue next time.
The message of Pastor Terry today was really wonderful. If God says that we are righteous, then we are righteous! If God says that we are holy, then we are holy. All we have to do is have faith in that righteousness, that holiness. Personally, I am so thankful that I am able to listen to the sermon, have fellowship and share my difficulties during the Bible Studies with Pastor Sung Yun Jo.
– Salvation Army, Pastor Antonio
Easter Cantata Number 10: “My sins are gone forever, there is no need to worry!”
The tenth church to host the Easter Cantata was Greater Hood AME, located in Harlem, Manhattan, New York. It has a history of 192 years and it still uses that building that the church was founded in all those years ago. As soon as you walk outside, you can infer the difficult standard of life just by the number of churches that exist on the same corner.
During the performance, the audience were eager to catch every line and reacted according to each individual scene.
“It’s all over. Jesus has died!”
“No!” “Jesus is alive!”
The two disciples who were on their way to Emmaus had no clue that Jesus Christ had resurrected. As one disciple said that it’s all over, there are members of the audience that would reply back to the actor.
After the performance, Pastor Joseph Park, who works in New York Church, preached the message. Every time Pastor Park finished a sentence, the audience would react, making it seem almost like a conversation.
“When God gave us the Ten Commandments, he knew that we were going to break the law, so that is why he gave us the tabernacle. However, because the tabernacle on earth is temporary, the sin offering given at the tabernacle can only wash the sin temporarily. That is why Jesus Christ gave an eternal offering in the tabernacle in heaven. Folks, if God pays the wages of our sins he does not do so for 50 percent or 90 percent but 100 percent. Saying, “It is finished” means that the work of washing away our sins have been finished!”
“The Easter Cantata was phenomenal. Jesus Christ has taken away all of our sins and has passed away on the cross. And this has washed away our sins eternally! At once, forever! Jesus has made us eternally righteous. My sins are gone forever and there is no longer any need for me to worry.”
-Janelle and Christine
After the performance, Janelle, who was giving the interview, said that her sins had been washed and that there was no longer any need to worry. As soon as she said this, tears began to flow down her face. She seemed touched by having been freed from the problem of sin, under which she had been suffering for a long time. On the outside, it just seems like a short performance and sermon, but the clear gospel that was contained within that had been knocking and leading that hearts of the people towards salvation.
“It has been about 30 years since I began ministering at this church.
I have been to your events a few times. I went to the Gracias Choir Christmas Cantata and also had a conversation with Pastor Ock Soo Park. I also saw the Easter Cantata once before. I visited the church of Pastor Chung Hwan Song a few times to have fellowship with him. You all speak of the forgiveness of sin, and eternal redemption and this message is so wonderful. It is great.
If there are pastors who oppose you or do not accept your message, then it is because they are afraid to change. People fear what is different. Maybe they are afraid that they will lose their congregation because your sermon, activities and your music is so beautiful. However, we love working with you and it is so good that we are able to invite you like this. Your music and message was so wonderful. Not only just today but always. The relationship between you and us is very important. Please come back next year. I will contact you again. Thank you once again!”
– Greater Hood AME, Pastor Freeman Parry.
It has not been a few months since 2017 had begun. However, through the Easter Cantata, the Christian Leaders Fellowship and the visiting Bible Crusades, God is opening new doors of the gospel in front of us. Even today, God is alive and working to accomplish his promise that 500 churches will be established in the USA.
This Easter Cantata continues from the 19th February to the 9th April every weekend, taking place in 23 different churches.