The Road to the Cross 02
I was crucified once. Not literally, but in a Passion Play. I was sixteen. The play was put on by a church that a young lady I had fancied was attending. She brought me to Bible study the night they were handling out parts for the play. Since I had long hair and looked a little older than sixteen, they decided I would make a GREAT thief on the cross: the “bad” one.
So, wanting to impress the girl, I said yes. And so began my first real encounter with Easter. Though I had been typecast, I took my role to heart. We had to make it “look” realistic with fake blood, and I was asked if I was ok to wear a loincloth. Not knowing what that was, I consented.
The play was a big draw in our town… happening in a public amphitheater on an April morning. Hundreds came. It was a big deal. And I was one of the guests of honor, with my face and chest smeared with some kind of red goo that passed for blood.
Now, back to the loincloth. What they HADN’T done since cell phones weren’t yet invented, was check the weather forecast for the day. It was to be in the low 30’s with a slight breeze. Wind chill hadn’t been invented either, so all we knew was it felt a lot colder than 32. Especially in the moment that I had to get “into” costume and character… and was lifted into place by a couple of guys from the high school football team. That was just before it started SNOWING!!
Well, I played my part… couldn’t wait to die and get back to my coat and the fire that was burning in a barrel behind the stage. But what struck me that day was not the incongruity of the passion being performed on a snowy hillside early that Easter morning.
It was my line…”If You are the Christ….” Asking the question out loud set something in motion in my heart… something that wouldn’t bear fruit for another four years.
I left with my girlfriend that morning, and she has since drifted far into the past. But the striking moment of speaking that question is still fresh, and I think about it every Easter season.
But now… I know He is indeed.