Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 30, 2013

Easter comes alive

By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun

— I was blessed and very fortunate to have two loving parents who always made sure we were in church. Not just the worship service, but my sister and I were in Sunday School every Sunday for every single formative year of our lives.

I have always known that Easter wasn’t really about a bunny, or eggs, or baby chicks. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know it was about Jesus, and how he rose from the dead and left the tomb empty.

I have actively avoided watching “The Passion of the Christ” for as many years as it has been in existence. My husband periodically tells me it is a “must see” and that I will watch it one day.

We have been watching the mini-series “The Bible” on the History Channel. Haven’t missed an episode yet, and I believe the final episode is on Easter Sunday. I admit, it has been hard to watch some of it. There are many instances where I get cold chills and the hair on my arms stands straight up. Come to think of it, it’s pretty much each time one of Jesus’ miracles is depicted.

But the brutality of the day is just more than I bargained for. There have been many battles with swords that looked all too real for this viewer, but particularly hard to watch for me was the scene where they killed all the first born baby boys, as Herod was trying to get rid of Jesus at an early age.

I remember turning my head and covering my eyes, telling Will that it was just too realistic and brutal — to which he replied, “That’s how it really happened. Uncover your eyes and watch it.”

That got me thinking. All the years of my life, when I heard or read stories from the Bible, was it all somehow an abstract concept? I mean, I believed it to all be absolute truth — but did I somehow fail to grasp just how horrific much of it was?

Then on Palm Sunday I was fortunate to be able to see “Clothed in Glory,” the Palm Sunday pageant written, directed and produced by Dr. Shellie O’Neal, a friend from Navarro College. My mother was in the chorus, as were other folks from First Baptist Church (and maybe the other churches involved). This play covered the time of Jesus’ ministry where he was healing people, working miracles all the way to the resurrection.

It began on the front lawn of First United Methodist, then we all walked to the parking lot of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Scenes were performed at each place. We then journeyed to the office behind St. John’s Episcopal Church. My step-dad was herding me from place to place, as he had a video camera and I had the “still” camera for Daily Sun. He was trying to make sure I got in a great vantage point each time, but the audience was growing quite large, and my wee short self needed the extra help to get good pictures.

I remember at St. John’s, when Haskell leaned down and said in my ear, “Watch these kids’ reactions to the beating and crucifixion of Jesus. You can tell they’ve never realized just how brutal it was.”

And he was right. Not only did I see it on their faces, but I felt it myself. I know I have read accounts of how exactly the physical body of Jesus suffered during the events of Good Friday. But watching the Roman soldiers hit Jesus with whips, push him, shove the thorns on his head, run that spear through his side, force him to carry that huge, heavy tree ... seeing it was different.

We walked somberly to the front of First Baptist Church, where the angel appeared and told the women Jesus had risen — he was not there. And we watched with chills as he appeared “in the sky” (on the roof of the church), his robes billowing in the chilly wind.

The actor portraying Jesus did such a wonderful job. His facial expressions were touching, and the entire play was just so moving. I “felt” Easter, Good Friday, and Palm Sunday in a way I never had before. I was part of “the crowd.”

So, I will watch the final episode of “The Bible” Sunday when it shows the crucifixion. I will probably even watch “The Passion of the Christ” at some point.

I am so grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made, to save a lowly, pitiful sinner like me from an eternity in hell.

Amazing love.

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Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun columnist and editor of Explore Magazine. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached by email at dkirk@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com