Detroit, MI—On October 13th, Gracias Choir arrived at its 14th and final US stop: Detroit. Detroit is the biggest city in Michigan and was one of the largest cities in America right behind New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Detroit is home to motor companies like Ford and GM and was the mecca of the automobile industry. Many young people forewent higher education in favor of working in car factories because of the wealth it brought. But the recent economic recession made a huge impact and many left their homes and even the city itself.
City government burned abandoned houses to prevent gangs from infiltrating and setting up illegal operations such as drug trade. It’s hard to find people walking down the streets of Detroit and for those still here, many dream of moving out.
As the US’s automotive industry leader, Detroit consistently failed to get its corporations to make technological advancements. They believed in themselves thinking they could remain in their position without change while countries like Japan rapidly advanced by challenging and pushing the limits of technology.
At the same time, automotive company employees set up labor unions to protect their personal interests, constantly seeking raises in compensation and applying pressure to their employers. Forced to meet the ever-increasing wage demands, companies allocated funds to employees rather than investing in making more competitive, cutting-edge products.
Gracias Christmas Cantata has become a huge source of joy for the citizens of Detroit. Gracias Choir made its second trip to the Masonic of Detroit Masonic Temple for this year’s tour. The Masonic has garnered a reputation for being one of the major performing venues in Detroit and its 4500-seat capacity is the largest hall for Christmas Cantata this year.
The quiet empty roads around the Masonic began to bustle with activity as we approached show time. Before we knew it, citizens began to pour into the building. Many of them held their Cantata tickets, most likely hand delivered by our volunteers, close to their heart as they walked in the door. We could tell they were full of anticipation.
Act 1 took the crowd of 3000 back to Jerusalem where Gracias Choir depicted scenes of people desperately looking for the Savior, but rejecting baby Jesus. This stage left attendees with the burning question, “Would you still say to him, ‘No room?’” It was as if the hope these people were looking for was finally knocking on the door of their hearts.
Pastor Yeong Kook Park preached the gospel through the story in Genesis 27.
“Like Jacob, we have two different images. Jacob’s own image is not fit to receive the blessing from his father. But Rebecca made Jacob into an image worthy of being blessed. Rebecca is a representation of Jesus. Christ has made an image for us. It’s shown in 1 Corinthians 6:10-11. Our original image is dirty and evil. But, we are washed. But, we are sanctified. But, we are justified. How have our sins been washed away? I’ll sing you a song.
What can wash away my sin?”
The 3000-member audience responded in one voice.
“Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”
Pastor Park went on to say, “That’s right. Jesus has taken our sins with His blood. The sin that I committed today, the sin I’ll commit in 10 years, in 500 years, it’s all been washed through the blood He shed 2000 years ago.”
“My family has attended Christmas Cantata for three years now. This performance was even more joyful this year since it was different. When pastor preached about the true meaning of Christmas, it was a good lesson for my children. Gracias Christmas Cantata has become an annual tradition.”
– Melanie Moore
“I received a letter with ‘Dear Neighbor’ written on it, so I wanted to come see the Cantata. I knew it was a story about Christmas, so I asked my husband to join me. It was so good to hear that I don’t have sin because the blood of Jesus covered it. I received salvation.”
– Rosetta Claxton
Detroit, a seemingly broken city. But God has brought it Gracias Christmas Cantata. Those who heard the Gospel and received salvation through this performance will become the light that restores this city. More to come from across the Canadian border and the final stop of the 2013 Gracias Christmas Cantata tour: Toronto.