Greatest Story Ever Told

April 24, 2011 by staff 

Greatest Story Ever Told, Every Sunday of Easter, the Rev. Kent Happel is in front of his congregation and delivers the climactic chapter of the greatest story ever told.
After 16 years as minister, said he never tires of talking about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“It’s my favorite day of the year,” said Happel, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, 255 S. VII. “What began as Christmas comes to verification during Holy Week.”

That does not mean that it is a challenge for Happel to ancient history of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice of relevant and attractive to today’s parishioners, especially young people.

“We try to do something special every year for Easter,” said Happel. In his church, which includes a “Last Supper of life”, with music by the choir and theater.

Salina several ministers of different faiths were asked about the challenges involved in preparing his annual Easter message on Sunday.

Does your congregation like to hear the traditional story of Christ’s sacrifice without any frills or editorial comments? Or do you prefer that your minister to establish a connection between the Easter story and how it affects your life today?

As a result, a little of both.

Emotional rollercoaster

“I go into detail about the denials and betrayals that left only Jesus hanging on the cross,” Happel said his Easter sermon. “After dying on the cross and back to life. The whole week was a rollercoaster of Jesus emotionally and physically, as is now the people live.”

Happel want to highlight to his congregation that, although the material comforts have had a positive effect on our lives, nothing will have a greater effect than the sacrifice of Jesus.

“Despite everything that makes life wonderful, nothing beyond what Christ did for us,” he said.

Ancient history

The Rev. Jon Fillipi, pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene, 1425 S. Michigan, has been telling the Easter story of 31 years. Despite the crucifixion and resurrection occurred thousands of years ago, he said, still has a big effect on how we live today.

“It is not just ancient history,” he said.

“These are matters of doubt, fear and apprehension, and how can we believe anything we do not understand,” said Fillipi.

In a modern world that the “upside down” Fillipi said, helps people learn that no ancient families, that mention Jesus Christ, he struggled with the same issues of faith and belief.

“You can never exhaust the story,” he said. “And it becomes more believable and real when it was confirmed in the stories of history.”

Back to basics

It is very well draw a parallel with how the Easter story affects our lives today, as long as the effect of the original story is not lost, said the Rev. Allen Smith, pastor of the Church of San Juan Bautista Mission, 215 S. Chicago.

“Sometimes you need to get back to basics and make sure people understand what the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross really means,” he said.

The bottom line, Smith said, is that in a modern world full of instability and uncertainty, “All I can really hang your hat on a belief in God and what Jesus sacrificed on the cross.

“Sometimes you do not need new e-luxury,” he said. “Sometimes the best message is tried and true and great tradition.”

The most important day

The story of Easter is the most important story of the Christian faith and must continue to be told, even if everyone knows the story by heart, said the Rev. Jim Hawley, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, 308 S. VIII.

“From an emotional point of view, Christmas is more important emotionally to people, but from the church point of view of Easter is the most important day,” he said. “Without the resurrection, the church has no message of importance.”

Hawley said the Easter story remains both fresh and traditional, focusing on a different version of the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

“Interestingly, people some of the differences in the Gospels,” Hawley said.

A focus on hope

That is precisely what Barry Dundas has done over the four years he has been pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, 901 E. Neal.

Each year, at Easter, who has visited one of the New Testament Gospels, each of them tells the Easter story from different point of view and with a different emphasis, he said.

“With Mark, the story of the resurrection in the tomb when the women found the tomb empty and afraid,” Dundas said. “Matthew and Luke take the story so that Jesus returns to his disciples.”

Dundas has found that most people want to focus more on the hope created by the resurrection of Christ and not relive the torment of the crucifixion.

“Many people want the joy of Easter and tend to stay away from the painful part of it,” he said.

A time of renewal

Allen Scheer, dean of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, 118 N. Ninth, still believes that the Gospels can tell us today and give us hope, a message trying to convey in each Easter Mass

“It’s an exciting time of year, as long as the liturgical year to share that message of hope to the people,” he said. “It’s time for a renewal of faith. It is also a time to welcome the new members of the church and remind them how they are called to live in faith.”

But how does that relate?

Jeff Piepho, pastor of Revolution Church, 1125 W. South, said his congregation is composed mainly of people between 20 and 30 who want to know how the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus relates to their lives today.

“We work very apologetic,” said Piepho. “We look at the historical and logical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, so we know what happened in real life, not just a story in a book.”

In today’s uncertain world, Piepho said, is the work of the ministers to remind people that while Jesus suffered, also won in the final.

“Jesus rose from the dead, so ultimately, he wins,” he said. “And he wants to win the final. So we have the opportunity to have a better life and better forever.”

While it is a challenge to make the Easter story seems fresh every year, Piepho said, “that’s what we as ministers to sign.”

“We are like a musician to write a new song,” he said. “They’re all the same notes, it’s just a different variation.”

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