Perception: Your Heart Determines What You See
Who did you see in Trinity's Easter presentation this year?
By Cecilia Lee
“Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world Has a wondrous attraction for me For the dear Lamb of God, left His Glory above To bear it to dark Calvary....
In the old rugged Cross, stain'd with blood so divine A wondrous beauty I see For the dear Lamb of God, left His Glory above To pardon and sanctify me”
A familiar hymn. A Last Supper we know so well. Trinitarians gathered on Maundy Thursday, April 1, as Pastor Dominic led the physical and online congregation through the significance of the bread and the cup. Once again, Trinitarians remembered Christ’s grace and unconditional love for His bride, the Church.
Through worship songs and hymns, Pastor Dominic spoke about the importance of touching lives through service. Using Jesus’ washing of His disciples’ feet as an example, Pastor Dominic exhorted the church to serve others with the same humility.
Maundy Thursday is also Mandate Thursday. As believers, we have received a clear mandate from God – to touch lives through service, humility, as well as to evangelize.
Every day is an opportunity to love someone and lead them to Christ.
“Who is Jesus? A felon, teacher or king?”
While Maundy Thursday reflected Jesus' heart of service, this year’s Easter drama, PERCEPTION, reminded us that Jesus' contemporaries saw Him very differently.
Comparing the beliefs and questions of two men in the Bible – Nicodemus, a teacher of the Jews, and Pilate, the Roman governor who handed Jesus over to the Jewish priests for crucifixion – PERCEPTION made audience members think about what their own perceptions of Jesus would be if they lived during His time.
“Is Jesus the promised Messiah?”
“For the presentation, I thought it was a good angle coming from Nicodemus' side of the story. It was not the usual story which usually focuses on the crucifixion. Seeing how Nicodemus reacted when he spoke to Jesus made me reflect on my own priorities and beliefs even when I am already a believer. Another thought-provoking moment was seeing how the crowd was so blinded and their hearts so hard that they chose to crucify Jesus instead of releasing him.”
- Cheryl Ong, Trinitarian
The beauty of the PERCEPTION drama was that it captured the reality that not only Pilate or the Jewish leaders condemned Jesus – but also the crowd – people who could have easily been you or me.
About 800 years before Christ's crucifixion, the Book of Isaiah already foretold that Christ would willingly give His life for sinners:
"But [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."
- Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
The sins of humanity nailed Jesus to the cross, but He willingly endured it for the joy of seeing people saved.
Rededicate: to commit (oneself, one's life) anew
PERCEPTION showcased eight shows from March 29 to April 3, 2021 at both Trinity@Paya Lebar and CHIJMES. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of actors on stage were scaled back. Despite this, eight actors delivered a powerful presentation with questions that tugged at the hearts of many believers and pre-believers.
138 Easter Premiere Parties were also hosted at various locations across Singapore so that hundreds of pre-believing friends and family could watch the drama in the comfort of a host’s home.
Brothers Chong Lin and Pastor David Sashi took the stage at the end of PERCEPTION and shared their testimonies before leading the audience to respond in faith and invite Jesus into their lives.
It was a divine moment knowing that each response made a difference for eternity. Pre-believers and those who wanted to rededicate themselves to Christ stepped forward where spiritual parents and pastors prayed with them.
Mervin Chew, 25, rededicated his life to Christ at this year’s PERCEPTION showing. For Mervin, it was the pastor’s message that moved him:
“I accepted Christ in 2010 when I was going through a lot of family turmoil but eventually stopped believing. I was invited to Easter Service this year and when the pastor asked if anyone wanted to reconnect with the Holy Spirit, it made me re-evaluate my life...
I recalled all my life’s hardships and joys, and a small part of me lit up as I saw how God was with me all along. He placed believers in my life to guide me through rough waters and strengthened me through painful trials so that I am where I am today: comfortable and confident in my own skin, family and life.”
- Mervin Chew, PERECPTION attendee
Another rededication story comes from Flynne Ong, who was invited to watch PERCEPTION by her friend, a Trinitarian named Grace Tan. Flynne was one of 76 individuals who decided to follow Jesus after the Easter presentation!
“I used to attend IGNYTE in secondary school but gradually stopped attending because of my dance commitments. After five years, I was still searching for purpose but was confused about my career direction. At the recent Easter service, I watched the production and listened to the sermon from Brother Chong Lin and decided to give God another chance in my life. I felt peace and clarity in my heart and had the confidence to raise my hand to accept Jesus without any peer pressure.”
- Flynne Ong, PERCEPTION attendee
Salvation is a holistic experience that cannot be faked
This year’s Maundy Thursday service and PERCEPTION drama were beautiful reminders of our salvation through the cross and a chance for our rededication to the mandate of our loving Savior and King, Jesus Christ.
“Thank you for the cross…the mighty cross…
and everyday we are changed into God’s image more and more,
yes by the cross we have truly been transformed!"
- Mark Altrogge
The artwork promoting PERCEPTION was specially crafted by Trinity's graphic designers to incorporate seven elements of the Easter story. Can you see them all?
Reflect & Respond
Who is Jesus to you?