Throughout our ministry we have always placed a special emphasis on Easter, creating an atmosphere of worship that engages the whole person with its significant redemptive message. Typically for us, this commences with the Passover on Maundy Thursday, a Good Friday Service, a sunrise Dawn Service on Resurrection morning, climaxing with a celebration Easter Sunday Service. In each of our appointments these services have taken on a different shape as we have sought to lead people on a journey of discovery through a teaching series and a dynamic encounter with God through a visual display. Our first Easter in the Solomon Islands has been no exception!
This year our teaching theme leading up to the Easter weekend was "Fo Mekem Yufala Biliv" based on the Gospel of John, exploring the reason he wrote his gospel: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).
On Thursday night we held a Passover Service at our Quarters where 35 people from Honiara Corps gathered to participate in the liturgy of the Passover that Jesus would have shared with His disciples during the Last Supper. Unlike other years, we opted not to have a full meal (for practical reasons) but nevertheless we had a meaningful time of worship around the Seder plate. We incorporated a scene from the animated movie 'The Prince of Egypt' to help tell the story of the Exodus, which really captured the attention of both the kids and adults! The outdoor setting and tropical environment provided a very pleasant atmosphere for such a special evening.
The next morning the congregation that gathered for the Good Friday Service in the same location increased to 50 as we continued our journey through John's gospel, drawing upon his own testimony at the cross, "The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe" (John 19:35). Our youth led a powerful time of worship, the crucifixion story was read by a number of our soldiers and everyone was challenged to become one of the witnesses at the cross by taking a small cross made of palm leaves to share with someone who does not yet believe.
Easter Sunday morning commenced with a very early start before dawn at the American War Memorial on top of the Skyline Ridge. A few of us joined with Kukum Campus SSEC Church for an Easter Sunrise Service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we watched the sun rise our hearts were joyful as we lifted our voices in praise and shared in fellowship with other believers on this significant occasion. Later that morning we returned to our regular place of worship at the Rock Haven Inn for our Easter Sunday Service, with 90 people packing into the conference room. The atmosphere of worship was electric as our youth once again did an amazing job at leading worship. It is hard to describe the extraordinary sound when Solomon Islanders express themselves in worship, except that the presence of God is tangible! Easter Sunday was one of those God-honouring occasions. Our Easter series was brought to a fitting conclusion with the witness of Mary Magdelene declaring, "I have seen the Lord!" (John 20:18).