In 2011, starting with the Bible Crusade and a variety of events held in the New York area, we invited the pastors of various churches across Long Island and the city to our Pastoral Meeting. For the past two years since, these pastors have had a continuous relationship with the Good News New York Church and have had a lot of interest in our various events such as the World Camp and also in the Gracias Choir. Among those pastors, Reverend Pedro Baez of the Iglesia de Dios (Church of God) in Brentwood, NY, invited us to host the third performance of the 2013 Gracias Easter Cantata.
Brentwood has a population of 60,000 people, 54% of which are Hispanic. It is one of the largest Hispanic residential areas in Long Island. There are very many pure people looking for God, but among the dozens of churches that line the streets, it is difficult to find one that conveys the true Gospel.
Those thirsting for the Word were shocked when they heard the precise and fresh message of the Easter Cantata. Also, the presence of the choir brought great excitement for those who have had little opportunity to listen to live classical music. Starting with the cantata’s prelude and then moving into the different hymns and pieces, the audience sang along and little by little we could see them becoming engulfed in the music and lyrics.
The climax of the show, as Jesus with his flesh ripped and torn hung on the cross, were the words, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). The words resonated throughout the auditorium as the hearts of the audience were filled with thankfulness for the love of God who did not spare, but rather sent His only son for our sins.
That day, Good News New Jersey Church’s Pastor Seongju Jo preached using the example of Thomas who didn’t believe that Jesus had resurrected from the dead. These words testified the Gospel to the hearts of the many people in the audience who have been suffering because they did not believe the Word that Jesus was sent to this earth to wash away our sins once and for all. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because you have seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (John 20:29).” Through the scripture, the hopeful message conveying the heart to believe this Word that saves us from sin knocked on the hearts of all who listened.
We met many people who yearned to meet God, each through their different forms and methods, but continued to live in pain because they didn’t know the way. It was sad to see so many people living like that, but through this 2013 Easter Cantata, God’s will and the precise Gospel are being preached. Thus, even on this burdensome and sometimes difficult path, we can find happiness.
Next Performance: Brooklyn, New York