It is that time of year again. As you can tell from my blog…or lack of one…it has been production week. That means we have not been home more than a couple of hours this week. It is a huge labor of love and it never ceases to amaze me how many people are willing to commit that kind of time and effort.
This year the theme was a military one with a heaven scene at the end which featured dancing angels. It was quite a celebration that was portrayed as the main character entered. I had some friends in attendance. Several years ago one of them lost her teenage son in a car accident. The tragedy still stings I am sure. As this woman and her sister watched the scene, the sister said she did not get the dancing angels. The other woman said I totally get it. That is the kind of reception my son received as he entered heaven. As the Holy Spirit’s comfort covered their hearts the tears flowed. New life was breathed into a painful past and a burden was lifted. God is so cool.
Another story is about Jesus, the crucified Jesus to be exact. Shawn Alexander has been the crucified Jesus for the past 7 years I think. I cannot tell you how many times he has been killed. It is a brutal scene and he is thrown around quite a bit. Let’s just say that some of the bruises are real. Each time I am transported to the death of my Lord, as the fact that I know all the actors slips into the back of my mind. It is a poignant reminder of his sacrifice for me.
This year they are training a new crucified Jesus. Shawn feels it is time for a replacement…literally FEELS it. So a younger college age man was selected. He played the role one of the nights to try it out. When he was finished, he said he had a greater respect for what Shawn has been doing without complaint all these years. He said carrying the cross hurts, and that the guards were very rough and it was incredibly difficult to hang on that cross for that long. The blood make up is sticky and when you pull it off a layer of your skin comes off with it, not to mention the hair. The crown of thorns really is thorns and they stick into your head. He was singing the praise of Shawn for all that he has endured, willingly and even cheerfully for the past several years.
His description caught my attention and I wondered how much more respect these two men each have for Jesus himself. If the pain and suffering of ACTING like Jesus is difficult, just think how unimaginable it was to actually do what Jesus did in real life. Carrying the cross did hurt, the guards showed no mercy as they flogged him. Hanging on the cross as he suffocated had to be unbearable, yet he bore the pain of it all for me and you. The thorns tore his brow and his back didn’t have much skin left on it. It was gruesome. Yet he endured it all willingly without complaint. What an amazing lesson to learn. To be like Christ is the ultimate goal, and reflecting upon the crucifixion, it was once again evident how little we are like him…really like him. I think it is not possible for us to comprehend the staggering weight of his sacrifice. We cannot understand why he did what he did unless we understand and RECEIVE his love for us. Not just in our heads but in our hearts as well. This year there were new perspectives on heaven and on the road to the cross. Eyes were opened in new ways to see things from a different viewpoint. No matter how many times we do this production one thing remains the same, God is Glorified and he uses his glory to change hearts.