Take the story of Jesus out into the open spaces and the streets of your own town and it comes alive in new and unexpected ways. It is a reminder that the living Jesus has to do with us today and with our community. See where we set our Passion Play and then ask yourself where you would locate the story of Jesus in your own community. Make a story board and plan a Passion Play for your own community.
The movement of twinning towns in different countries started after the war. It was an attempt to heal the wounds of war by creating ties of friendship. Sandford Park has features linked with Cheltenham’s twin towns and a Friendship Circle commissioned from South African born Neville Gabie. We located Jesus’ teaching about love not only for neighbours, but for enemies too and his willingness to extend the hand of friendship across the divide of race, gender and creed in this Friendship Park. It brought home how vital that teaching still is in our divided world. Where would you set the teaching of Jesus in your community?
A Church and a Shopping Centre
We presented the cleansing of the Temple in the courtyard outside Cambray Baptist Church in Cheltenham town centre. It made us think about the way in which the institutional church often finds it difficult to cope with the unexpectedness of Jesus’s teaching. We then went into the busy shopping streets of the town centre and shared in the Last Supper outside Burger King: it is a shock to realise that our Town centre is free of shoppers only on Christmas Day! Shouldn’t there be space for other activities on the shopping streets of a town ... let only for a deeper, spiritual dimension to life?
The Council Offices
To be part of the crowd standing on the steps of the Municipal Offices watching Jesus condemned to death, makes you wonder whether you would have the courage to stand out against a crowd - how would the authorities cope with Jesus today ... are they challenged to change their priorities by us who claim to follow in his footsteps? Where would you locate the betrayal, and the trial of Jesus in your community?
The sheer cruelty of crucifixion is easy to forget. It comes home to you when you are standing at the foot of a rough and ready scaffolding stage. The mechanism we used for the crucifixion scene was based on one originally used for the Mystery Plays in Coventry Cathedral. Locate it in the Imperial Gardens behind the Town Hall and the timelessness of the cross and its significance not just at a personal level but for a whole community, comes alive. How and where would you stage the crucifixion?
The small, walled garden where Jesus was laid to rest, has become for many who shared in the Easter Celebration a place to be reminded of the reality of resurrection and the hope it brings. It is an invitation too for all who are bereaved to remember the Easter story and realise that every place of burial is at the same time a reminder of resurrection. What place in your community would you choose to bring home to people the message of the Resurrection?