By Julia Gervais
Traditionally the longest and arguably the busiest weekend on the motorways, with many events taking place over the easter weekend, some (myself included) thought it would be prudent to postpone the festival. God had a better plan…
Our first Festival of Sound of the year brought a freshness characteristic of Spring.
The theme ‘In 3 days’ took us some 2000+ years down memory lane all the way to Calvary while the rest of Christendom celebrated Easter in their chosen way. How could one event so many years ago have such a far-reaching impact? No stone was left unturned as the story was retold through music.
Johnny and Jasmin, the father and daughter duo raised the curtains with the warmth and cheerful demeanour for which they are known. They made sure the audience was comfortable and ready for the journey back in time.
Unapologetically, using his powerful baritone voice, David proclaimed, the Lord is my light and my salvation. He sang of the fate of those who attempt to do him evil, while God is the strength of his life. In the end his rhetorical question spoke volumes; of whom shall I be afraid? As if to echo his sentiment, Rochelle praised God for what He’s done for her. Jesus’ death killed death itself and guaranteed her future in heaven.
Nine young ladies, representing our youth choir harmoniously reminded us of what happened on calvary; Jesus died for us all. Continuing the story, Dariann and Nilkisha explained that the event of that Friday was no accident or coincidence. Jesus knew from the beginning that mankind would need to be rescued and so leaving nothing to chance, a plan was put in place. Yes indeed, the blood covered it all. Everol asked, “were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Though he sought no answer to the question, the desired response was realized. In their own way, each person took that journey and thought about their own contribution to the crucifixion. It was a very emotive 4 minutes of self-reflection.
The group From The heart, comprised of eight ladies (all in black bar one), gave a performance that lived up to their name. They offered us a solution, rather, the only solution. If weighed down by guilt…forgiveness is waiting for us, bought by the precious blood of Jesus. He is no longer dead, but risen! They ended with an invitation to the altar, forgiveness is free but not cheap.
Together, Janet on vocals and Solomon on the ivories continued with the theme; death had no choice but to surrender to the cross of Christ. On day 1 of the 3, the earth responded with a seismic shift!
Nothing remains the same after Jesus passes by.
Paul Lee was overcome by RMT strike and failed to make the previous festival in December 2022. Once again, he had travel difficulties but this time he overcame. Along with Gail and Marie, he told the story of Christ’s death, carrying our sin and shame. He rose, conquered hell and the grave and lives forevermore, hallelujah!
Jesus, when on earth showed us how to live and share His love. His time was spent ministering to those in need and we have been asked to do likewise. Over the years, the Festival of Sound concerts have been a means of raising funds for charitable organisations. On this occasion we chose to support Mind Croydon. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the convex lens of a magnifying glass as it were, has brought into the spotlight the unprecedented surge in mental health challenges. This is the mission of Mind Croydon. Their representatives gave some insight into the ways they provide support for their clients and expressed their heartfelt gratitude to our church. In addition to contributing financially, the audience combined their voices as they sang Because He Lives.
The remainder of the concert was an outpouring of gratitude to God.
Why you love me so Lord, I shall never know…behold the precious lamb of God. I’m the one to blame, I caused all the pain and yet…no matter what, Jesus will still be there waiting with open arms. Sometimes God calls us out of our comfort zone, we need to trust that He is ahead of us paving the way. Step out in faith and go beyond that open door. Growth only happens when in faith we move. Resolve that where He leads, you will follow.
Let our living be purposeful (not in vain). “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40
The final scheduled song was I’m Dreaming of a City where there will be no more suffering, just everlasting peace. That presentation by the ladies of From The Heart was well received, however, I can’t help but think it left some of our basses in fear of being supplanted.
After two encores and contributions both in-house and online we raised over £1000 on the night. The team at Croydon is grateful for your contributions and appreciates your continued support.
When our Pastors took the stage, we were immediately put at ease as Pastor Royston Smith made it clear they had no intention of singing! After expressing their gratitude, Pastor Jesse Samuel pulled the curtains down just as they were raised at the beginning, with a prayer.