Guest post from Rev. Charles Harrell
Since its inception over twenty years ago at St. Paul United Methodist Church, “The Passion of Christ Southern Maryland” has been a rich part of the annual celebration of Holy Week, and an opportunity to share the Gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus with friends, neighbors, and even those who “happen” to pass by during a performance. As pastor at St. Paul when the play started, and pastoring elsewhere in the community since that time, I’ve seen the powerful impact The Passion of Christ can have on those who share in it … even if it for just a few short moments.
The story is one shared and celebrated by all Christians: of how God, who took on flesh in Jesus, gave Himself up to suffering and death for the sins and brokenness of humanity, then triumphed over death. As cast and crew members converge from across the southern Calvert community, the play becomes an expression of our oneness in Christ, that transcends smaller differences of tradition. It’s one way in which the Good News is shared across the community – and fellowship is built across different expressions of the Christian family.
For those attending the play of an evening, it’s a powerful way to see the Passion story come alive, based on a harmony of the accounts in the gospels. The familiar message takes on color and depth, played out through the sound of familiar voices and friends’ faces. Every performance ends with an opportunity to consider your own answer to the question Jesus once posed to his disciples: “But who do you say that I am?”
Better yet, consider being a part of the team of cast and crew putting the play on this year. Yes, it takes a considerable investment of time and energy. But something special comes of actually walking through the story in the guise of a participant (as a cast member) or having a very up-front view of the story (as a crew member). It comes alive in a new way, all over again.
So “come and see”. Or be a part. Or encourage your friends or congregation to share in the experience.
A very old legend connects the name of Longinus with the soldier who stood watch at the foot of the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion, and that he was so affected by the Person and character of Jesus, that he himself became a follower of Jesus, and a witness who shared the Good News. What impact will an hour at the foot of the cross make in your life, as the story comes alive before you? Come and find out!