Tonight Paul and I were invited by a work aquaintance to attend the 2010 Passion play at Mt. Hope Church. I was not looking forward to it. I have a hard time watching suffering, especially when I know it’s not fictional. I also grew up in the outer reaches of the Bible Belt and I have seen more than my fair share of Passions and Pageants. I really wanted to skip it and go see the new Tyler Perry movie, “Why Did I Get Married Too?“. My husband kindly reminded me that we can’t turn away from what Christ did for us. He promised to hold my hand at the scary parts and we went.
Our friends got us great seats and we settled in. I didn’t mean to be aloof but I was. I knew that Jesus had died on the cross and sometimes I cringe at the constant reminder by some Christians of our debt to him. I have always felt that Christ wants us to serve him out of love and not out of obligation and fear. Please don’t take me to mean that all Passion plays or Christians are getting it wrong. My attitude in the moment was one of trepidation and doubt. I couldn’t explain why a normally enthusiastically open person closed off so suddenly.
As the play began and we wafted through Jesus’s miracles, teachings, persecutions, crucifixion and his resurrection, I knew why. I am not in love with my sin and I definitely don’t want to spend an evening wallowing in it. I can fill the air with all the rhetoric I want about love and obligation but I need to pay attention. I need to remember even if I don’t need the alter call and the free Bible.
Tonight I remembered that I am the woman at the well. I am the mother carrying her dead child to place in His arms. I am the blind man and the cripple begging to be healed. I felt the woman’s hopelessness as she bathed Jesus’s feet with her tears and I rejoiced when she was forgiven. My heart broke as Mary sobbed at the foot of the cross. I cried when Jesus stepped out of the tomb. I was especially moved when Judas Iscariot hung himself because even with the promise of forgiveness, he couldn’t forgive himself. I can relate to that.
When Jesus gave His final commandment to love one another I thought of the world with sadness. I see in my minds eye all of the misrepresentations of that love that hurts my soul. The Pastor at Mt. Hope welcomed all of the attendees with open arms and made the statement that it didn’t matter what “brand” of Christianity you come from. The only thing that matters is our salvation in Christ (loosely quoted). We all suffer greatly when we focus on our differences.
Even if you don’t believe that Jesus was the Savior, we can all agree that He was a revolutionary. That is the Jesus I love. Not out of obligation but because I believe in his message of love. I want it to be given freely to everyone.
In our home we have a rule. Love Rules. If you can’t make a decision about how you should treat someone in any circumstance, let love rule. It doesn’t always work. I don’t always let love rule in my life but that is the highest goal and it’s what I want my children to remember about our home. I don’t care if the rule says bedtime is at eight. If you need a cup of tea with your mother we let love rule.
I hope that this Easter you are inspired by Christ’s commandment to all of us. Let love rule or as He said it…
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.