In this article, we reflect again on what Easter looked like to different members of our family in places across the Diocese.
Drama at All Saints Palmerston North
The team at All Saints Palmerston North brought the drama of the crucifixion to life in their Passion Play at Easter Time. Written by Rev Caleb Rowe and Nina Peck, the play was performed in various locations throughout the church grounds on GooD Friday morning. Audience members were given a costume to remind them that they were part of the show themselves, which began as a light-hearted party, complete with hot cross buns and live music. But as Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter and John reflected on how things had turned out, the drama of the event became obvious. Audience members became witnesses to the trial at Pilate’s house, with cast members shouting “crucify him!” all around them. Backstage sound effects of whipping reminded audience members of the very real suffering endured by Jesus, before the whole cast and audience moved through to the main hall where the crucifixion and death took place.
Of course the story did not end there, and Rev Billy Rowe reminded all in attendance that they themselves are a part of the ongoing story of Jesus, by inviting them to celebrate the resurrection a few days following. Before people left, they were invited to use prayer stations in the main hall to contemplate what they had just been part of.
Sonrise in Titahi Bay
In Titahi Bay, Porirua, the churches of the area gathered together for their annual “Sonrise” service atop Mt Cooper, at which St Matthew’s hosted about 100 attendees to celebrate the rising of the sun, on the day on which the Son of God rose from the dead. The St Matthew’s choir sang of the risen Saviour and Rev Casey Lee delivered a homily.
Poignant reflection at Brightwater Home
Elderly residents at Brightwater Home in Palmerston North embraced memories of their past as they used papier-mâché to create an empty tomb representing the last moments and death of Jesus. Rev Amy Houben, Chaplain for Elder Care Ministries in the Manawatu Archdeaconry, shared: “the mess we made was a sight to see! It was a lot of fun and brought some great memories to the surface of doing papier-mâché with our children many years ago.”
The tomb was placed on the altar for the home’s Easter service, and was decorated with stones, fabric and flora, and had a candle added for each of the seven last words Jesus spoke from the cross. As each one was said, a candle was extinguished, with the final one being placed in the tomb and the stone rolled across the ent
rance. Amy tells us that it was a moment of trembling in gratitude as the residents sang “were you there when He rose up from the dead,” the stone was rolled away and the candle was re-lit to celebrate the risen Lord and the resurrected lives of those in attendance.
As we journey now through Easter-tide, we look forward to the celebration of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Diocesan Week of Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Visit movementonline.org.nz/comeholyspirit to find resources, stories and to share your events with the whole Diocese so that we may join together in celebration.