Monday, March 17, 2008

Watch The Lamb @ Palm Sunday

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has been told of, firstly through the four Synoptic Gospels, then by the successive apostles and disciples of Jesus, and now, through movies like Jesus of Nazareth and The Passion of the Christ. What if the Passion is to be portrayed in front of us? I am not talking about some places in the world where certain weird people actually inflicts wounds to imitate the Via Dolorosa; rather, a play where actors and actresses portray the Crucifixion live. What if you could see it through the eyes of the person who helped Jesus carry His cross?

Watch The Lamb was written by Ray Boltz. The song narrates the Lord's Passion as viewed by Simon of Cyrene. The lyrics of the song, together with YouTube video links for the play with the same name, are available here.

In 2008 Lent, Shalom Working Youth Fellowship (SWYF) Penang took up the responsibility to direct the skit during Palm Sunday sunset Mass and Sunday Mass (March 15 and 16 respectively) in Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Penang. It took the team about 5 weeks from casting to practice, to costume design, to preparation of props, to the days of the actual performance. Despite the short period of time, the outcome of the skit was indeed awesome. I could notice that many people are touched by the skit. The expressive ones wept, and the macho ones are holding back their tears. Even non-Christians were touched.

The most distinct moments (where I could sense within the emotion of the parishoners) during the actual performance is, when the guards yelled at Jesus (the parishoners get startled), and when the guards nailed Jesus on the cross (the clinking sound effects - perfect on the second performance - drove many people into sorrowful emotion).

The Crucifixion scene

This skit could not be possible without the help our our Supreme Director, who is God Himself. Without Him, our efforts are of no value, and without Him, the skit would just like another school play. From the various reaction of the parishoners and feedbacks (that I heard as a third party), I'm sure God have melted the hearts of many. Praise God!!!

Unforgettable experience

I was cast as one among the Jewish crowd that shouted "Crucify Him". This is my first play in front of hundreds of parishoners. My part was a short one - in the entire show taht lasted for about 15 minutes, I was there for merely a minute or so. Walk in, yelled, pushed Simon aside, and walk out. And, my part was played together with many extra casts, I was not at all nervous during the actual performances, even in front of the many audiences.

The cast

It was a great experience for me, even with the one minute of performance. During the practice, I was indeed nervous, and yet within me I became very sensitively emotional. Being a sinner whose sin is the true reason of His crucifixion, I was actually there to yell "Crucify Him". Yet, the moment of yelling is indeed a painful experience. Every time I yelled, I could feel my heart burst with 'tears'. And, during the crucifixion scene, the tears manifested physically.

During the two practices that I went to, I had to double as another Jewish who played a part where he need to slap Mary Magdalene. I was supposed to place my left palm on her face and use my right palm to slap my left plam to create the effect, but, during one round of practice, I actually slipped and went straight to her face! Though she said she expected me to really slap her, I felt sorry for the accident. There was also one funny part, where I forgot to stand in a proper position, until that lady was desperately looking for me to get slapped. Well, that's one of the NG mistakes I need to bear and get laughed at. :-P

During the two actual performances, I was also put in charge to prepare the tools and props for the skit. Before the skit (which is after the Gospel Reading), I have to organize my helpers to place the stuff in front of the altar, where the crucifixion scene was supposed to be; and after the skit, during the Collection, I have to help in clearing the stuff and the cross from the altar, as well as cleaning the concentrated red syrup (used for blood) from the altar floor. Due to the responsibility, emotions did not actually come as easily as before, but still could feel my heartache as I yelled "Crucify Him". Only at the moment we prayed for the release of our roles did I cry. At that moment, I experienced and realized the importance of getting our roles released immediately after the skit, failing which would cause our own character overcome by the character we used to portray.

I was truly touched by what God has done - He took my sins upon Himself, so that I would be made worthy. I was indeed glad that God used me as a tool to portray His Gospel. One assurance for myself is, no matter how broken a person is, God still uses him to touch His people.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be world without end. For the kingdom, and the power and the glory are Yours, now and forever.

[ More photos to follow ]

No comments: