First of all, it was for about five minutes. And, obviously, I wasn’t really Jesus.
I received an email on Saturday from Tina Thompson-Broussard, the Choir Director at Christ UMC, Farmers Branch, saying that she had asked the staff who they thought would play Jesus, and Pam Capener mentioned me. Tina asked if I would be Jesus during a song in the early service on Sunday – no speaking, just acting. The early service begins at 8:50 a.m. so I was to be there at 8:20.
I didn’t have a show on Saturday, but we were to turn the clocks forward. It was doable – needless to say, I don’t usually go to the early service. Besides, how many times do you get the chance to be an Irish Jesus? After a few hours deliberation, I replied in the affirmative.
All I knew was that I was to be Jesus. The sermon series is on Jesus Christ Superstar, so as an old hippie, I knew that what I usually wear would probably work. I did have a pair of sandals, just in case. I thought about having my tie-dyed shirt at the ready, but it is the early service and it might not go over.
I was getting ready for my role Saturday night. I knew she was looking for the Jesus Christ Superstar Jesus. But I kept falling back into the Eric Clapton Jesus in the Who musical, Tommy, when he walks down the aisle of the church in a white robe playing a Les Paul. But I didn’t have a white robe. I’m just more comfortable with a guitar.
I walked into the church at 8:15, coffee in hand. The choir was practicing in the choir room, so I just hung out in the hallway reading the bulletin board over and over and drinking coffee. After about 4 minutes, Katie Buck walked in and smiled at me
like she expected to see me. I commented that it was really early, and she agreed. Katie and her older sister, Lillian, were in youth with our boys. Her father, Charles, led the confirmation class that all the kids went through. So I didn’t think anything about it.
Then Tina walked in the door, put something in the choir room, and took Katie and I to the sanctuary. Then I learned what the plan was. The sermon was entitled “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” We were to do our little “skit” during the Anthem -Kyrie – Schubert Mass in G Major by Franz Schubert. (I know, it surprised me, too – and I was Jesus.)
As the music began, I was to walk up the middle aisle of the sanctuary to the chancel. Where I was to step up on the riser, turn, and stand there “looking Jesus-y.” Then, after so many measures, Katie came up. I turned as she was coming up and faced her when she got there. We looked each other in the eye, then Katie “the fallen woman” (I know – I felt better, too when I learned that) would bow before me, look up, and then back down. I patted her on the shoulder, and helped her up. We looked each other in the eye. Then she looked down again, I reached out and raised her chin, and we looked at each other, Katie looking relieved, and me looking Jesus-y.
We practiced it once and Tina asked if we wanted to go through it again. We said we were good. Katie had actually brought a sheet fashioned into a tunic. As you see, I wore my shirt with the fish on it, untucked, and jeans. Before the service began, I went to Charles and Rebecca Buck with Katie.
“I’ve gotta be honest with you,” I was telling them, “I don’t think even Jesus would get up this early. I see him strolling down to the synagogue about noon.”
So I went and sat with Cyndy toward the back, and Katie sat on the front row. The service began. After the scripture reading, the anthem began. I walked up the aisle, turned and looked Jesus-y, Katie came up and we did our thing, and returned to our seats.
After the service, people thought we did well, and it all worked – Katie has done some acting – hence the tunic. While Katie and I were looking at each other, we actually had a conversation with our eyes. And then, just like that, I was plain old Dan again. Which is a good thing. Being Jesus ain’t easy!
Peace be with you.