It was so beautiful.
When I arrived at the church, there were little crosses which had been made by the Sunday School children.
The sanctuary was quiet.
The cross was draped in mourning cloth.
The altar was bare except for a small, simulated fire on what appeared to be a black draped stool. I’m sitting in the front row next to two little girls who have the aisle seats. Their parents are behind them.
“We welcome you to this place…to this time…
“Focus in on tonight…
“Just get up and walk out and reflect upon what you have seen.”
“Why did it have to be a friend who chose to betray the Lord?” was part of the Michael Card song “Why? that Jay Hemphill sang.
A litany appeared on a screen.
“We come again in search of you; in search of you…Once again we sing.”
Hannah appears from behind the curtain wall.
“I have got to find him.
“How am I going to go home without talking to him? Especially the way I greeted him in Jerusalem.
(Actually, Hannah didn’t see Jesus on his triumphal entrance. She was too busy talking to her father. She missed Jusus’ healing of her niece.)
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she says, remembering what we call Palm Sunday.
“It was amazing!”
“There’s somebody I could ask,” she says.
Hannah wonders to the side asking a woman where she could find Jesus.
“Where have you been?
“Haven’t you heard?
“He’s been arrested.”
She also learns that Jesus has been sentenced to death, that the joyous crowd of less than a week ago has turned on Jesus before Pontius Pilot.
Hannah is incredulous.
“What can they possibly arrest him for??
“Why would they want to kill him?”
Hannah is told that the Roman soldiers put a purple robe of royalty on him, made him a cross of thorns, then, fell on their knees and mocked him.
The congregation hears (and those farther back see) two Centurions driving a cross-bearing Jesus down the center aisle.
The two girls sitting next to me are watching intently.
She thinks she recognizes him.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know who you are,” the man tells her.
“Hey. You’re Simeon.
“Didn’t I meet you are Lazarus’ house?
“There’s nothing more we can do for him.
“It’s over,” he says as he hurries away.
“What’s happening?” Hannah cries out. She cannot believe that Jesus’ followers are deserting him.
“Please don’t let him die before I meet him.”
Back to the Centurions.
“You! You, carry the cross!” a man is ordered.
Jesus stumbles by on his way up the hill.
Hannah is on her knees sobbing.
“I’ve been looking for him my whole life,’ Hannah says.
“I’ve dedicated my whole life to him and now he’s going to die.”
Elizabeth’s husband catches up to her:
”We need to be going.”
“We don’t know him.
“We’ve never known him.”
A well-dressed man comes down the street.
“Excuse me, excuse me,” Hannah says.
“Do you know where I can find Jesus?”
“What’s bothering you?
“You’re not one of those Jesus freaks, are you?
“What was he trying to do? Make us look bad?” the man says and walks away.
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Hannah inquires.
“Woman, are you crazy?” he shouts.
“Why did you betray him?” Hannah asks.
The action is moving fast, too fast to take notes and pictures. I’m sure I missed crucial parts.
”You’ll find him at Golgotha.”
“Isn’t that where people die?
“Why are they killing him?”
“Why did you betray him?” Hannah cries as she kneels before the Cross.
A voice that has been reading the Bible story at various times, says,
”It is finished.”
Hannah collapsed on the ground, sobbing.
“A Centurion said,
‘Surely, this man was the Son of God,’”
a voice intones.
The service ends with a sad flute and a mournful trumpet. As each musical part ends, the musician leaves the sanctuary.
The lights are dimmed significantly.
Eventually, Hannah rises and leaves through the center aisle.
As I am almost to the front parking lot, a woman who is the mother one of my sister’s high school friends says, “It was fantastic.”
= = = = =
The whole series of Lenten performances has been fantastic.
If you haven’t dipped into my reports about them, Hannah has been seeking the meaning of life over the three-year period of Jesus’ ministry.
This is a light-hearted, at times funny, virtually every week moving look of this young girl’s search. I could certainly relate to it.
First she meets Jesus in the wilderness at the end of his 40-day fast. She thinks he’s crazy shouting at no one she can see.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera, so my articles pick up Hannah’s seeing out Jesus’ family, friends and neighbors in Nazareth.
Next, we see Hannah at Lazarus’ house in Bethany, where Mary and Martha are throwing a big party celebration his being brought back from the dead. Hannah’s best line is, “He was really dead.”
Onto the Temple, where Hannah just misses the overturning of the tables, but meets more people whose hearts Jesus has touched.
Hannah decides to lure Jesus to her boat rental booth at the Sea of Galilee. You have to read the cover of the Enquirer-like magazine she reads while waiting for Jesus to come. (You’ll have to click on the image to make the headlines legible.) Naturally, by the time Hannah figures out Jesus is teaching a bit away, she is too late to hear him.
Let me add here that the people who participated in the creation and production of this worship series are among the most creative folks I have ever seen. I hope our church will figure out how to share it with others.
From the Sea of Galilee, Hannah goes to Jerusalem, arriving just in time for Jesus’ praise-filled entry. This is a two-part story: Part 1 and Part 2. As I mentioned above, she again misses Jesus, as she does the day he is crucified.
Hannah has one more chance—Easter morning.
Do you think she will finally see Jesus after his resurrection?
Most assuredly you be able to read about it here, but if you want to see it in person, be at the First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake at 11 AM on Sunday morning.
You’re going to have to be there early to beat me to the front row.
= = = = =
The cast was made up of
- Logan Fraser as Hannah,
- Dave and Linda Hill as Rufus and Elizabeth,
- Jeannine Patterson as Anna,
- Suanne Fraser, Marland Gall and Stacy Cook as three people who question Peter,
- Bob Brandt as Peter,
- Merle Patterson and Paul Metivier as the Centurions,
- Brian Morrow as the well-dressed priest,
- Terry Santos as Simeon,
- Past Health as Veronica, the woman who wiped Jesus’ face,
- Mike Fraser as Simon, who carried Jesus cross,
- Kristin Brandt as the woman running,
- Tim Pontius as Jesus, and
- Bob Brewer as the narrator.
The script was written by Jay Hamphill.
As usual, any of the photographs can be enlarged by clicking on them.