Years ago (during seminary days) I went with a group of single adults from the church where I served as youth minister on a weekend trip to view the Passion Play in Eureka Springs, AR. It was  a thrilling experience. The play began just at dusk chronicling the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Actors and actresses, along with an entire menagerie of animal actors depicted the events beginning with the triumphal entry accompanied by “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” We were witness to the Last Supper, to the mock trial before the Sanhedrin, to the audience before Pilate, and to the awful sight of the Crucifixion itself.

I must confess that throughout the beginning of the play I was filled with thoughts of, “That’s not how it happened,” and, “That’s not the way the Bible records it.” And then it dawned on me–these are just actors, trying to present an impossible story in a way that gets the message across while being as accurate as they can without the advantage of spectacular cinematic tricks (it was a “live” performance after all). With this thought, I began to enjoy their interpretation, and it was rather nice.

As they moved through the story to the request of Joseph from Arimethea and the burial of Jesus’ body I began having doubts again–“They’re going to leave him in the tomb, I just know they are.” But, you know, they didn’t. Not only did they tell the story of the Resurrection (which is what today is all about) but at the very climax of the event, Jesus began to ascend. I had seen the wires before the sun went down and they extended to the tops of the trees. As the illusion continued, he ascended above where I knew the treetops to be, and I was awestruck.

Here is the thought that came to mind in the midst of this spectacular production: “He is alive!”

The thought that has inspired believers from the day that inspired this Passion Play in the Ozarks: “He is alive!”

The truth that accompanies the events of this Holy Week is that in his Crucifixion Christ conquered sin and in his Resurrection Messiah put Death to death. And since HE IS ALIVE we can know: Death is dead. Life has come!

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