Friday, April 06, 2007

Being Jesus

At noon today we had the Community Ecumenical Good Friday Service over at our sister UMC in North Bend, which is just a couple of miles away. Obviously, this being my first year in Coos Bay, this was my first experience with this service.

We'd gotten no preperatory material, there was not rehearsal, but I knew that I would probably be asked to do a reading or something once I got there. Little did I know that I would be asked to be Jesus.

The central piece of the service was a little reader's theatre setting of John's Passion, and each of the local area pastors were asked to read a part. Like I said, we didn't have a lot of instruction. Just "Will you be Jesus? Okay, here's the script."

I was an interesting experience. I got to be shouted at quite a lot by the congregation (who played at various times, the crowd, the guards, and the Jewish authorities.) I got to be slapped in the face by Father Carl, the Roman priest in North Bend, who was playing a soldier. It was a real slap too. I got to have some nice philosophical discourse with Pilate, played by Pastor David from the D of C church. And I got to fulfill every hair-band-lead-singer dream: strike a Jesus pose in front of a crowd of people. Too bad it wasn't a music video. ;-)

But all kidding aside, it was a pretty powerful spiritual experience. Even doing John's Gospel, which is pretty soft on the suffering, I really noticed how hard it felt having people shout derision at me and call for my crucifixion. I noticed how humiliating it was to be drug around from one official to another, to be paraded in front of the crowds and mocked. And it was interesting to be up there on the cross and yet still caring for those who caused my suffering.

It took quite a lot of energy, but I'm glad I happened on the chance. Next year we can have Fr. Carl be Jesus and see how he likes getting slapped.


Anonymous Mary Ann said...

That was really interesting to read. I generally favor very simple service forms for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday-- but I never thought about it from the POV of participants in a spectacular!

9:30 AM  
Blogger david said...

I think the same is true for choirs, too. The performers get quite a lot more out of it than the congregation.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann said...

Ah, speaking from experience on both sides of the choir loft, yeah....

2:05 PM  

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