On Palm Sunday our church presented a drama and musical presentation where we transformed the front of the church in to the city of Jerusalem. With actors and singing, our audience got to see Jesus healing the crippled, changing lives, and making His triumphant entry into the city while people waved palm branches. It was in this Palm Sunday presentation that I portrayed the adulteress woman who was to be stoned – and was spared by Jesus who asked the crowd, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The woman is not stoned – and in our presentation – she sings a song of being forgiven and how “to sin is surely human but forgiveness – is divine.”
On Maundy Thursday, our drama presentation continued with a crowd of people finding Jesus in the garden where Judas kisses and betrays Jesus. Our small crowd of actors and actresses were having a little trouble getting into character and rabble-rousing so I offered to put on my bland townspeople costume from the weekend before and help them. As Jesus was arrested following Judas’ kiss, we had to shout in anger, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
What happened after that church service still leaves me in breathless fascination.
I had changed out of my costume and back into ‘normal’ clothes and was talking in the gathering space with an old friend. Circling around me was a young eight year old girl in our congregation named Lucy. We knew each other, although she never really speaks to me individually. She may be with her parents while I speak to them, but more likely she is darting in and out of other people, chasing her siblings. This time she was right up next to me, actually brushing against my clothes, and was trying to patiently wait for my break in conversation to obviously speak to me. I was curious and so I stopped my conversation with my friend and looked down at Lucy and asked her, “Do you have something to say to me Lucy?” She stopped and looked up at me. “Why did you yell ‘crucify Him’ to Jesus today when last week you were so happy he forgave you?”
I was stunned.
I was speechless.
Out of the mouths of babes.
I put a hand on each of Lucy’s cheeks and looked her straight in the eye and replied, “Lucy you are the only one who noticed.”
Sadly, isn’t that what we all do? Especially at Easter when we all attend church and sing joyfully that “Jesus Christ is risen today – hallelujah!” And then tomorrow we curse him when our car won’t start, our spouse angers us, or life throws a challenge at us. Why are we so quick to praise God, then blame him for what we don’t like?
Thank you, Lucy, for your Easter message to me. I had to share it. It is such a simple lesson but one that is so very great. If we claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we’d best live our lives like we mean it every day. It’s not just a Sunday habit, is it? And tomorrow when we are at work or somewhere at play, we must continue to walk hand in hand with Jesus. To deny Him is like shouting “crucify Him”.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!