Sunday, March 04, 2018

Being the Angel At The Tomb



I never really understood the Easter story. It never made sense to me that God should send his only son down to earth to be tortured to death in order to save us from our sins.

I still can't make any sense of that.

But something happened today when I was rehearsing the Passion Play. This is an outdoor event that's happening in Duddingston Village, on Edinburgh's outskirts, on Easter Sunday.

It's a beautiful thing. It uses a mix of community and professional actors to tell the story of Jesus's trial and death and resurrection in and around the village and its kirk.

We were rehearsing in the church hall. The bad weather meant there weren't many of us, and Charles Nowolskielski, the author and director, seemed to be taking an awful of the parts because the people simply weren't there.

I play the Angel at the Tomb - the Angel who comforts the weeping women and tells them Jesus is no longer there, and that he has risen from the dead.

Which meant that for most of the rehearsal I had nothing much to do. I drank the tea and ate the lovely sponge cake the church volunteers provided for us, and idly watched the rehearsal.

And all of a sudden I found myself caught up in it all. It's a beautiful script that tells the story not just what happened, but of the human beings caught up in the drama. The High Priest doing his best to defend his religion, the governor forced to take a decision he detests, the wife of the soldier who gave Jesus the cloak and the crown of thorns, the soldiers whose job it is to bang in the nails. The thief's young brother who comes to stay beside him as he dies and give him what comfort he can. The Daughters of Jerusalem who come every day to the place of torment to ease the sufferers through their agony.

It's all written with immense compassion and it's maybe that which brought those tears to my eyes.

Or maybe there is something going on in these ancient and profound story, some profound truth maybe that I will never understand.

And perhaps don't need to...
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