As many of you are aware we have just completed the first year of doing the Passion Play here at Abundant Life. We had 105 people involved in the production with five performances and about 2500 people in attendance. Hundreds of hours of work went into sets, soundtrack, props, acting, music, publicity and hospitality.
Many times during the years of working on this production I have asked why we do it and if it’s worth all the effort. That question is always answered at the first performance every year. If someone were to poise the question of why we do it to me I know exactly how I would answer. “I Like Seeing It.”
I’ve heard and told the story of the life of Jesus thousands of times. I’ve studied each of the gospel accounts to a degree that I think would put me in a fairly small fraternity. I’ve listened to these gospels many times over on my Ipod as I read along with the narrator. However, there is something about seeing it acted out. I realize that the actor that we have playing the part of Jesus probably does not look at all like Jesus and that our sets aren’t really that accurate to first-century Jerusalem but there is something in the effort. You see for me as the director to give direction on how I believe things looked and how people acted I have to imagine them real. I have to imagine how Jesus interacted with those the scriptures describe.
The magic for me is in construction of the characters. My process is that I take everything I know from the scriptures and everything that I believe the scriptures allude to and weave it together into gestures, attitudes, and priorities that get projected on to the character of Jesus in our play. Might we be missing it to some degree? Absolutely, but the real deal (in the words of Eric Hoffman) is bringing Jesus from the realm of story and fairy tale into the realm of reality in both my mind and the minds of those who see the play.
For me that’s a defining moment in a person’s walk towards eternity-saving faith, that moment when Jesus becomes a real person rather than a character in a story. How about you? Is Jesus real or just part of a story that you heard? Not sure which one describes you? Do a simple test. Do you talk to Jesus? Out loud? Do you go through your days thinking about what he thinks or feels? If not then perhaps He’s still just a part of a story.
He is real and alive and IS thinking about you.