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My husband Andy is Peter. He is wearing a plain brown tunic that reaches just past his knees. A long twisted cord is tied around his waist.  He has an old pair of sandals on his feet and there is a woven cloak around his shoulders. He doesn’t need to apply a false beard. He has one of his own.

Our daughters are wailing women, even Gemma-Rose who is only 2. The girls are wearing tunics and mantles. I made them myself from oddments of brown and grey and beige fabric, using a made-up pattern. They look okay, not too bad at all for some trial and error sewing.

One of our sons is dressed in an alb borrowed from the church. He is Pontius Pilate’s water boy. The other son is dressed in a very short red tunic. (He has his shorts underneath.) He has a helmet on his head, and lace-up-the-leg sandals on his feet. He is the standard bearer for the Roman army.

Streams of cars, and bus after bus, are coming through the gates. Thousands of people are arriving to watch the Good Friday Passion Play. Soon Andy and the children, together with the rest of the cast, will act out the story of Jesus’ Passion.

We will watch Jesus institute the first Mass at the Last Supper. We will see that betraying kiss. We will feel all churned up as we witness Jesus being beaten and whipped and jeered at. Will we be able to utter the words, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” with the rest of the crowd? We will follow along slowly behind Jesus as he struggles beneath the cross on his way to Calvary. And as mournful and stirring hymns are sung, tears will glisten at eyes. We will see Jesus fall into the dust three times. The women will hide their faces into their mantles and wail with sorrow. Jesus will be ‘nailed’ to the cross. He will die. 

And for a moment, we will forget this is only a play, and our hearts will ache with love and compassion and regret. Then as Jesus is taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb, we will think, “This isn’t just a play. This really happened. Jesus did die for us on the cross.”

It has been a few years since my family last acted in the Good Friday Passion play. The girls’ tunics haven’t been worn for a long time. They have been tossed into the dress-up box. The girls have swapped those tunics for black skirts and white shirts: their choir uniforms. 

This afternoon, on this Good Friday, they'll be singing…

 I raised you to the height of majesty,
but you have raised me high on a cross.


My people, what have I done to you
How have I offended you? Answer me!

There is no answer. You know what? I think when I hear those words I'm going to cry.






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  1. Sue, the events of the Passion have always resonated deeply and very personally with me. Whether this is because we sacrificed the one "perfect" man or on a more abstract level destroyed a creation of perfection has been one of the few things that I have not analyzed right down to the sub-atomic level and I think that's proper; it's a matter of faith that I feel the way I do, because in the end, Jesus was resurrected. He died for our sins; God so loved us that he was willing to sacrifice his only begotten Son for us. There is tremendous power and grace in that statement and in the act of crucifixion and resurrection. But it still hurts to see Him hanging on that cross.

    On a slightly lighter and sillier note, I have played in several pageants and a few Passions. One of the Christmas Pageants that I played in up in my home state of Michigan got its signals crossed one night. It had hired 3 violinists and 1 violist and they had dressed us up in long, flowing skirts, and white blouses with huge red sashes and bows around our waists. We were micced and we were to walk up the aisle of the church and up the stairs, while playing (already difficult) and walk around behind the cross where Jesus was to be nailed and wait for our cue.

    That night, the sound engineer and the lighting guy got confused and somehow we all ended up in between Jesus on His cross and. . . a Roman Centurion. Cue the music, and so we had to play there, frozen in this surreal tableau. I'm pretty sure that was one for the books. I'm just glad no one started laughing on stage. I have a few of those stories for later. Anyway, we vamped it out, and ended the pageant in as dignified a manner as we could. I was relieved when we played the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah, although it lacked it's usual majesty, with only four string players! Thanks for sharing! Mary xoxo

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    1. Mary,

      It takes time to really appreciate the love which Jesus has for each and every one of us. I am still growing in appreciation of that. Probably I will never understand its depths while still alive. I think none of us will. We smile indulgently when a few usually older people weep a bit on Good Friday, but maybe we all should be in tears. Yes, it does hurt to see Jesus hanging on the cross. But in that moment we are in union with Jesus, knowing He understands our own sufferings, and we can appreciate His just a little. At least that's the way I see it!

      Oh I did enjoy your story! Thank you for sharing it. Because you just carried on without laughing I'm sure the audience didn't even realise something catastrophic had happened! My children often sing/ play the piano in public. They have learnt that they can minimize mistakes by carrying on as if all is well. But you know all about doing that! You're a performer and I'm not! Anyway, mistakes always provide some good laughs later, and as you said, some great stories.

      I hope you had a blessed Good Friday. Here, we are waiting. 7 hours until the Easter Vigil!

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  2. Such a wonderfully timed post; I've been trying to spend some time this week really grasping the sacrifice Jesus did for my sins. I'm so grateful he was willing to do so!

    What a great thing for you and your family to be part of in various forms over the years.

    betty

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    Replies
    1. Betty,

      I've also wanted to spend some time this week reflecting on the Passion. It's been a bit difficult with the blogging challenge coinciding with Holy Week and Easter. I don't think it happened that way last year. Anyway, it seemed appropriate to write a post about Good Friday. Thank you so much for sharing it. Yes, it was a great experience for our family to be involved in the Passion Plays. Acting it out really did give us a greater appreciation for what happened.

      I hope you have a very happy Easter!

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  3. "My people, what have I done to you
    How have I offended you? Answer me!"

    I think that many people do not want to answer that question because then it forces them to face their greed, if they are are honest to themselves.

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    1. Susie,

      I think you are so right! It's hard to really look at ourselves and face up to the fact we aren't quite as good as we think we are. For many years I didn't want to know. God kept on calling and I listened eventually!

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  4. How great that your girls get to participate. What a great introduction to the story, too, to be able to be a part of a reenactment.

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    1. Stephanie,

      Yes, being part of the Passion Play was a great experience. To physically walk our way through the events of the Passion did increase everyone's understanding. There was a fun side too. Dressing up and acting is not something we can do every day!

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