• Sara

Easter at the Bowl

It didn’t really feel like church.  It was more like The Church.  It was something special.  I suppose Easter by its very nature requires something special which was definitely accomplished.  Three churches, one venue; any Trinitarian ideas were possibly intentional and Christian unity definitely observed.

Easter at the Hollywood Bowl Fellowship Monrovia Christian Assembly, Eagle Rock Bel Air Presbyterian Church April 20, 2014

When my cousin told me she was playing at the Hollywood Bowl for their Easter service, of course I said I would come.  To clarify, by playing I refer to the French horn rather than football.  Katie is a professional musician.  To say the orchestra was amazing is an understatement!  When the choir started singing in celebration of the resurrection, there was no need for any rocks or trees to get involved!  Tommy Walker from Christian Assembly shared worship leadership with several other vocalists, and we went from traditional Easter hymns, to gospel style worship, to a song Tommy wrote specifically for this event.

The Easter story was read by three children, one from each of the congregations.  Then the three lead pastors stood in the front and preached a shared sermon.  It was brilliantly done, with each preaching one of the points in his own unique style, then posing a question that their point led to, at which point the next pastor stepped forward to preach and pose another question, with the final point being a question posed to the crowd who were then given a chance to respond to this man, this Savior who died and came to life again, that we might also be resurrected with him.

I know that people like to criticize large churches.  I have to admit that I also have been guilty of it in the past.  But on Easter I saw three such churches at their best.  It must have been at an incredible expense to rent the Hollywood Bowl and its parking lots (none of the guests had to pay any admission fee or parking cost), bring in professional musicians, and advertise the event.  And I am sure there were many other aspects that I have not thought of.  When an offering was taken, we were told that if we were part of one of the churches to write our checks out to that church, but any cash collected would not be divided between the churches, but given to a local charity.  This means, the churches themselves, the church members themselves, footed the bill for the community to have this incredible Easter service.  There was also extensive planning involved.  I remember talking about doing a shared sermon with several of the pastors at my church, but it never happened because it was too complicated.  Sharing a sermon with pastors from other churches would be that much harder.  The united worship team was also made of leaders and members from the three churches.  The pastors and leaders were of different ethnic backgrounds, cities, and even denominations.  And together they gave the community a beautiful picture of what I believe the Kingdom of God can be like here on earth, a coming together of different people with one great passion to proclaim the resurrected King!

Experiences like this make me so proud to be a part of the church.  But they also make me reflect on how I am contributing to the community of believers.  Am I helping people celebrate the unity we share in the midst of our diversity?  Am I working toward reconciliation within the body of Christ?  Is the possibility of the Kingdom of God within us and among us changing me into someone who participates in making this a reality?

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