The last two nights, the Above All Cast ran through the entire production. The purpose of these two practices was twofold. One, it was to get the proper structure of the production set both from a technical and performance perspective. The second, it worked to create a unification of the cast and crew of Above All under the service of God Almighty. Today, we detail how both of those purposes were fulfilled and provide to you all some insights from the perspective of one in the cast.
Last night we finished up our individual scene rehearsals for Above All with the Triumphal Entry. It's the largest scene as just about everybody involved in the drama takes part. Being in that worshipful atmosphere, even as a practice, was exciting and energizing. Even with everyone coming to the church at 7pm after long hard days at work, school and raising kids, we all came together and rocked the sanctuary with a powerful parade for Jesus. Forget St. Patrick's Day, Mardis Gras or 4th of July. Above All's Triumphal entry is the party to attend!
As a disciple, I get the unique perspective of observing the crowd rather than just looking for and running to Jesus for a moment. Seeing the multitudes faces exuberant at the opportunity to look on and worship the Savior, it is overwhelming. Their faces are joyous and expecting as Christ, the one who can take away their sins and heal their bodies, souls and spirits passes by. Palm branches waving, music blaring and people screaming with excitement, it is a marvelous spectacle.
I felt as though I was taken back to that time. Imagine what it must have been like. We have about 300 people in this scene. On that day some 2000 years ago, there were thousands that showed up just to greet and praise Jesus as he humbly rode in on the donkey. They were all hungry for something from God. They sang out in praises, "Hosana!", which means thank you Lord for coming to save us. It is a cry of desperate joy. Even though this cast doesn't have the numbers, it excellently represents the emotion and tenor of that moment.
Of course, with any practice, there are a lot of stops and comments from the directors. However, the directors don't just give notes to make us better actors. They convey what we can do to be better worshipers. They help us to express what it was really like back then so the audience can feel they are right there with Jesus in those last days rather than just watching a production of those last days. The POA is so diligent in this task that they have specific directors for each group of actors. The disciples have their own director. Jesus has a director. The Romans, priests and even the little children running around screaming "Jesus is here!" have their own directors. These directors prayerfully consider and study their group so as to make the production as authentic and spiritually focused as possible.
Tonight, we go through our first full dress rehearsal and you can expect an audio and written update on this for Friday. If you are in the area during Easter, consider joining POA as we recreate this and other scenes of Jesus' last days. Click here to get your tickets.
We close out the Gospel of Mark with the writer's depiction of Jesus. Mark doesn't write out long dissertations of Christ or go into great detail about the world and times around Jesus. He simply focuses on the man and God that is Christ Jesus, conveying his purpose in the simplest and most plain methods. Today, we example some of those unique moments found in Mark.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.