2016 Gracias Easter Cantata Tour & Local Churches’ Invitation Conference
As many people receive salvation wherever the Gracias Choir goes, there are two weeks left until the 2016 Easter Cantata Tour ends. This Easter Cantata Tour is not taking place in venues as big in scale as the Christmas Cantata Tour with thousands of people. However, they are touring local churches in New York and delivering a deep message of the gospel. At the same time, the invitation conference of local churches centered on the Good News Mission New York Church is gaining momentum.
*15th Easter Cantata
On the 18th of March, the Gracias Choir headed towards Bronx. Bronx is a city above Manhattan and the church that invited us was New Covenant Dominion Cathedral where Pastor Joseph A. Alexander was in charge. This church is one of the churches that invited us at the 2013 Easter Cantata Tour and we had lost touch for a while until this year’s tour where we came in touch again.
After the performance began, the bustling atmosphere turned sincere.
There are two moments throughout the Easter Concert in which the atmosphere changes. The first is when Jesus carrying the cross passes through between the people. As the people watch this scene of Jesus being whipped as he passes by, the audience that were watching this simply as a music performance soon immerse into the story of the Cantata. And they discover no other than Jesus who went through this pain for my sins.
The other moment is the scene when Jesus inside the tomb resurrects. The Choir’s song “He Arose” reverberates throughout the hall as Jesus arises with a bright shining light and the serious expressions of the people suddenly turn into bright smiles.
After the performance is over, Pastor Bang Won Park of Good News New York Church preached the gospel by comparing the tabernacle of Heaven and earth. “When the tabernacle on earth cleanses sins, it is temporary. This is because everything on this earth is temporary. But after Jesus died on the cross, the place of redemption of sins is at the tabernacle in Heaven. Heaven is an eternal place. That is why that offering has made us eternally righteous.”
“I saw the synergy effect of the Choir’s music, powerful story, and amazing harmony. Every scene was good but I liked the part where Jesus comes out carrying the cross and came back alive the most. Everyone else was also happy. The pastor’s message was very clear. By the law coming into this earth, we have become sinners and we had to give sin offering. But not anymore. Jesus himself became the offering and made atonement for our sins forever. What has been washed is washed. We righteous even in the future. I can surely say we are eternally righteous.” – Jorman and Fredrico
“I really learned a lot through the Cantata. It is such a wonderful fact. I have understood the true meaning of Easter. The reason Jesus died on the cross was to forgive our sins forever.” – Carmen
“We are neighbors living in the same neighborhood and Bennet invited me so I came. I liked every moment in today’s Cantata. The musicians really performed whole-heartedly and the Cantata let us see the cross right before our eyes. It was as if we were in that era. It was truly touching. The pastor explained well the true meaning of Easter; about the death, funeral and resurrection of Jesus. What Jesus did on the cross was for us. Our sins have been completely washed once and for all. That is why we no longer have to ask forgiveness of our sins every day because redemption took place once and for all through Jesus. Jesus gave himself to fulfill eternal redemption. The sermon was so complete. What happened today will be remember in our hearts.” – Bennet and Berenice
“We were really filled with grace the last time we invited the Choir so we invited you all again. We are very happy to have invited the Choir. It was a truly wonderful moment and the Lord you expressed moved my heart. I believe everyone here today not only had an enjoyable time but were also touched spiritually. I thank God. The pastor’s sermon was also very substantive and whole. I hope the Choir is aware that they are being used by God and continue to serve Him.” – New Covenant Dominion Cathedral Head Pastor Joseph Alexander
*Hispanic Local Church Invitation Conference
On the other hand, the heat of the Easter Cantata Tour has led to another meeting in other places.
The Head Pastor of Spanish Church of God in Brentwood, Pedro Baez is one of the people who invited the Gracias Choir at the first Easter Cantata held in 2013. When we had visited them last year to promote the World Christian Leaders’ Workshop (WCLW), the couple was ill and in financial difficulty so they could not attend the event but, they opened their hearts after attending the Kerygma Easter Cantata on the 26th of February. They invited us immediately on that day, requesting us to perform.
Although the Gracias Choir could not hold the Easter Cantata in each and every church due to their full schedule, there were the students of Gracias Music at Mahanaim.
On the 17th of March, the students of Mahanaim Gracias Music School that visited the Spanish Church of God wholeheartedly performed for the gospel. The people opened their hearts to the students that introduced the songs and sang them in Spanish.
“The next song is ‘Dios Esta Aqui’ (God is here).” “Amen!” The audience had already opened their hearts from the introduction of the song and shouted ‘Amen’ with each introduction, immersing themselves into the music.
Pastor Terry Henderson of Good News New York Church explained that it doesn’t matter who made what using what but what really matters is where what has been made and according to that the product’s quality labelling changes. Likewise, what matters is where we wash our sins from. “Everyone, our sins were washed in eternal Heaven. Heaven is eternal so everything that happened there is also eternal. Jesus fulfilled eternal redemption with his blood at the tabernacle in Heaven.”
The expression of the people leaving the church after the event was over had changed. We could see it was not only because they had listened to a music performance but because the Words had entered them. Some people still instilled with the moments at the meeting shook hands with each music school student and embraced them with joy.
Pastor Pedro was also very happy and moved. Having expressed his wishes that they come again and perform on a Sunday Service and even preach the Words, Pastor Pedro promised to also attend Christian leaders’ meetings in the future.