The Methodist Church in the UK is trying to encourage Christians to read their Bibles more often through an initiative entitled ‘Biblefresh’. In my church we were discussing how we, as a church, could encourage this, when I suggested that we do a dramatised presentation of Mark’s Gospel. “Good idea, Angela,” said our minister, “will you organise it?” (Why am I so impulsive?)
So, I have turned the New King James version of the Gospel into a play-script and we are rehearsing in preparation for the performances in October. The cast is a mixture of people, mostly men, from our church, some of the other churches in our small town, and some are from no church at all. It is a very challenging and interesting time for all of us. Not all the passages in the Bible get read in church and there are some parts we seldom hear sermons about. Some of Jesus’ more challenging teaching gets left out, but we’re having to tackle these sections head on. For instance we’re having to look at Jesus’ ministry of deliverance, which is unfamiliar to most of the cast.
It’s very easy for those of us who are familiar with the Bible stories to accept everything and take them a little bit for granted perhaps, so one of the things I am constantly having to remind my actors is that all the things we are portraying are happening for the first time for the people involved: imagine how terrified the disciples were when they saw Jesus walking on the water, for example, and how did they feel when, at the last meal they had together, He suddenly took the bread and broke it, something He had probably done with them many times before, but then said, ‘This is My body, broken for you. Take and eat it’. Did they understand what He was meaning? How can we make Judas’ betrayal of Jesus real? What was the build up to it, and how did Jesus react to him, knowing all the time he would become His betrayer?
There is something incredibly powerful happening when the Word is spoken out aloud. As we have been exploring it together, several of the cast have said to me, “This is a wonderful Bible study”. One has said that the Bible is really coming alive to him. My prayer is that we all, cast and audiences alike, listen afresh to the Word of God and allow it to penetrate ‘even to the division of soul and spirit’ and that it will make each one of us realise again what it is that Jesus has done for each and every one of us.
Prayer: Father God, Your Word is so powerful, please forgive me if I sometimes take it for granted. Please help me to look afresh at the wonderful things that Jesus has done for each of us and allow it to penetrate deep into my spirit. Thank You, Father, Amen.
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