Yesterday we saw the Oberammergau Passion Play
In 1633 the plague was raging in Europe. The villagers of Oberammergau, in Southern Germany vowed that if they were spared further death, every 10 years they would stage a ‘play of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ’.
Since then the people of Oberammergau have performed their passion play every 10 years.
It’s now a spectacular 5 hour production on a huge stage, in an auditorium to seat 5000. There’s an orchestra and a large choir…
A crowd of over 200 welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on a real donkey… real sheep and goats were sold in the temple and doves flew out of baskets when Jesus overturned the tables… there were horses and camels on stage…
There were moments of high drama – Jesus’ arrest, Judas hanging himself, arguments between the religious leaders, the trial before Pilate and Herod, Jesus’ mocking and beating…
There were moments of quiet reflection as the choir sung alongside tableau presentations of Old Testament stories, prophetically illustrating Jesus’ passion.
The drama moved forward inevitably, inexorably to the crucifixion. Jesus and two criminals nailed and tied to three huge crosses raised, standing high above the stage…
What I shall remember from yesterday above all is that the story involved real people, real emotions, real…
- …humility as Jesus washed his disciples feet.
- …shame and disappointment from Judas and Peter at their betrayal of Jesus.
- …anger from Annas and Caiaphas the priests, objecting to the new rabbi.
- …frustration from Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea seeing the injustice of the trial.
- …cruelty of the soldiers.
- …pain that Jesus suffered in the beating, crown of thorns and crucifixion.
- …love, grief and despair as Mary saw her son on the cross.
- …tenderness as John lifted Jesus’ body of the cross.
- …joy and exhilaration as the women realised Jesus was alive.
Real people brought fresh reality to an old, old story. Musing, I appreciate it in an fresh, real way.