The postcard was simply addressed to “Resident.” A copy of it had obviously gone to everyone in the neighborhood. It was slick, glossy and full of information about upcoming meetings featuring teachings from the Bible. The presentation promised to use computerized visuals that would bring the story to life. What a far cry this is from how Jesus’ message was spread in the beginning.
When the world was still thought to be flat, and one got around either on foot, in boats, or by beasts of burden, sharing the gospel depended on how well the messenger could hold up to the rigors of life. Now, evangelists fill auditorium seats and deliver the message using bands, lights, cameras and multi-media presentations. In a world known for self importance and short attention spans, holding an audience captive can be challenging.
To meet this challenge believers have pulled out all the stops. Whether through spectacular motion pictures featuring all-star casts, or holiday performances that include live animals, nothing is being held back. And then there’s Holy Land Experience (HLE). Begun by Marvin Rosenthal in 2001, and purchased by Trinity Broadcasting Network in 2007, HLE is billed as a “living biblical museum and park that brings the world of the Bible alive.” Marvin’s vision for the park was to proclaim the Gospel, and help believers understand how Christianity emerged from the history of Israel.
When it comes to telling the story of Jesus, this theme park near Orlando, Fla. is the ultimate go-to spot. Using modern technology, HLE visually presents the message through old world displays.
AT HLE one can begin their tour where God began everything by strolling through the Garden of Eden. After viewing scale model replicas of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, one can go shopping in a Jerusalem marketplace. No attention to detail is spared in the full scale replica of the Jerusalem Temple. Throughout the park there are live action presentations representing various aspects of Jesus’ life. It begins where the Shepherd’s Field recreates the angels announcing His birth, and includes a re-enactment of the Last Supper in the Dead Sea Qumran Caves. Then follow Jesus’ last days in the Garden of Gethsemane, at Pilate’s Whipping Post and, finally, the Garden Tomb.
To help tell the story, this weekend HLE will air free showings of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ on a 60’ LED screen. According to HLE staff, “Admission to the movie is free at 5.30p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The park itself, and all its events, close at 6:00 p.m. On Easter Sunday the park is completely closed for all events and shows, except for free admission to the Passion Movie.” The movie will be shown in the 2000 seat Church of all Nations auditorium. Seating is “first come, first served” and parking is free. Click here to find show times and directions to HLE.
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