Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Open air Passion Play to do at Easter

This Easter, people will be celebrating - either the resurrection of Christ, the chocolate Easter bunny or just the fact that they have a few days off. It is the easiest time of year to talk to people about the question of why Jesus died and the significance of his resurrection - and apart from Christmas, the easiest time to invite friends and neighbours to church. But the commercial marketing media will also be distracting people with various promotions and Easter bunnies in the windows. But it is not really going to help to fight with the commercial Easter Bunny promoters. If we don't encourage people to think about Christ and what he did for us, then their attention will be won by default by commercial advertisers.

The 'Passion Play' is one way that has been used as an effective means to reach people with the gospel at Easter time for hundreds of years. The above play was performed in Sea Point in the 1990s in which I act the part of a Roman soldier. Really I have no acting ability, but the effectiveness of the play demonstrates that if I could act in the play then it is simple enough for you to do so so too.

To act such a play, you need the following props:
* The Carmen's song 'This blood is for you', which you can download legally at http://www.carman.org/albums.shtml (Album 6, Song #3) for only $5 or about R50.
The lyrics are at: http://www.lyricsdownload.com/carman-this-blood-lyrics.html
* A wooden plank cut to size to use as a cross - with the edges sanded to prevent hurting the person acting Jesus.
* Ropes tied to the back of the wooden plank so that the Jesus actor can hold the cross up.
* Make whips to lash the Jesus actor by plaiting wool - then plait the plaits till you get a thick soft rope that will not injure the Jesus actor (do not use normal rope).
* Get some 'make up' to paint bruise injuries on the Jesus actor.
* Make some fake blood following the recipe http://www.filmmaker.co.za/faq.php?cat_id=22
* Soak the whip in a plastic bag full of fake blood and leave it in the solider's pocket until he whips Jesus.
* Gospel tracts to hand out to people afterwards to explain the meaning of Jesus death and resurrection and the call to personal salvation.

If you do the play in a public location, then apply for permission from the necessary authorities.

With easter 3 weeks away, there is still enough time to put together a play like this - especially if your church has an existing drama group. You can also share the true meaning of Easter by posting the above blog post or video to your Social Networking Profile (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo) to share with your friends.

But an open air Easter play is not the only way for you and your church to share the message of Christ's death and resurrection this Easter. Maybe you can think of another idea more suitable for your context. But lets not waste this opportunity and by our silence, let the 'Easter Bunny commercialists' steal attention away from Christ and what he has done for us.

Philip Rosenthal