I was not going to post another Easter Blog until Easter, but I had to post immediately after my experience yesterday!
The singles group I attend at Cross City Christian Church went to Shepherd Church, Porter Ranch, in the LA area, to see The Passion Play. I have been a Christian for many years. I have read the Easter story in the Bible, seen several movies, and participated in musicals all about Easter.
Nothing prepared me for what I saw today.
The room darkened, the music began, and the actors took their places on stage. Then, the magic started, and I felt transported into a different time and place.
I enjoyed the story; again, I am very familiar with it. Throughout the play, the cast sang about the miracles that happened during the last days of Christy, healing a blind man, a woman touching his garment and being healed, and raising Lazarus from the dead, to name a few. I just closed my eyes and listened to the powerful words and music during these scenes.
Once the play got to the point of the Last Supper, I was transfixed. Before the play, we were given the elements for communion. We were told we could take communion at any part of the play. The suggestion was to participate in communion during the Last Supper scene. So, I waited and took the elements (grapefruit juice and bread). I took mine as Jesus passed the wine and bread to his disciples. I can’t express how meaningful it was to take my communion with Jesus. I realize every time we take communion, we are in the presence of Jesus and God the Father; however, participating in the Lord’s supper as it is happening moved me to tears.
I was moved to tears for the rest of the play.
As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, I felt like I was there. I saw the agony of Jesus’ face and heard Him submit to His Father “not my will, but yours” My heart broke as I saw Jesus’ pain. I was horrified that the disciples, those closest to Him, slept during Jesus’ time of need. I was appalled by Judas’s betrayal of Jesus and devastated at His arrest. Finally, I was ashamed when I saw Peter’s denial of Jesus.
My heart hurt as I watched those last few hours of His life. The beatings He suffered, the questioning He endured, and the defeat He must have felt as the crowd turned on Him.
The next scene was Golgotha (Calvary) – Where Jesus was crucified. The way the play portrayed this scene was overwhelming. On the stage, they had the two other people being crucified set up. Then the soldiers brought out a substantial, sturdy cross to crucify Jesus. As I saw that cross being prepared to crucify my Lord, I felt this tremendous awe, knowing that Jesus would endure this humiliating, painful death for my salvation. I cried in great thankfulness.
I watched Him being nailed to the cross, and my tears freely flowed. Finally, He shouted, “It is Finished!” and died.
During the next song, we watched the tomb, and the stone suddenly rolled away. My heart fluttered, and once again, the tears flowed. In the end, Christ Ascended into Heaven, He was raised to the ceiling, and the room brightened. I sat there, almost incapable of moving.
Why did this play touch me?
I was reminded of how undeserving I am of the gift I have been blessed with. Christ was born a virgin birth, lived a sinless life, and was crucified so that I may be forgiven and live with Him forever in Heaven.
I have taken that gift for granted. I am like the disciples. I doubt, like Thomas wondering, how things will get done or if Jesus really knows what He is doing. (How prideful does that make me?) I fear rejection, so like Peter diverted the conversation away from the faith (another way of denial.) I had slept at times when God wanted me to stand with Him. Overall, I am a human full of sin. I AM FORGIVEN. That does not mean staying in a place of sin is acceptable. Living as a child of God, sharing my faith, and loving others like Jesus does is my job and privilege.
Jesus loves me, and He loves you. He went through all this pain for us. This was made VERY clear to me. So THANK YOU, JESUS, for your willingness to submit to God’s plan and bring me eternal life.
You may be wondering, where can I see this play? Amazingly, one of Shepherd Church's prayers was to air this play on National TV. God moves, and the Great American Family Network has picked them up. The play has been filmed and will air on TV on Good Friday, April 7, at 1:00 p.m. Please watch or set your DVR. You don’t want to miss it.
Continue to pray for this play to make a significant difference in this world. Another prayer Shepherd Church has for The Passion Play to become a Broadway Musical. What a way to get the message of Jesus to the public.
Please take the time to immerse yourself in this story of our redemption!
Have a great Holy Week!