Local church will present its own 'Passion' performance

March 26, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

Passion plays have been held the world over and long before Mel Gibson's controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ."

Six years ago, when the Rev. Michael Cox was the pastor of First Church of God, the congregation performed a passion play. Cox left for a job at a church in Effingham, Ill., but returned recently, and once again, the church planned to do a play about Jesus' last days on Earth.

"Forgiven ... the Last Days of Christ" will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 9, and Saturday, April 10, and 10:45 a.m. Sunday April 11.

Cox, with the dedicated help of many in the church's congregation, has not only taken on the job of getting the play produced, but he also is playing the role of Jesus.


"We hope to make this an annual event, something we can do for the community and something to look forward to each year," Cox said. He also said he hopes he can find someone else to take the lead role in future productions.

The play has 13 scenes and a cast of about 60 people. There are about a dozen principal speaking parts, but many church goers are involved as members of crowds in various scenes in the play. Children are included in the scenes.

One child, nine-year-old Hagan Wesley, plays Benjamin, a special cast member. Benjamin is a dead child brought to Jesus, who brings the youngster back to life.

Adults seeing the Gibson movie are urged not to allow their children who are less than 14 years old to see the movie. Cox said children above the age of five are welcome to attend "Forgiven."

To keep the play as faithful to the story of Jesus, Cox will ride into Jerusalem on a donkey while palm fronds are cast before the animal to cushion the ride. The animal is being loaned to the church by Wilbur Scott of Campbellsville. Jeannie Cox, the pastor's wife, said the animal actually is half horse and half pony.

All 13 scenes are introduced and narrated by Jesus' disciple John, who now is old and reminiscing about the days of his youth when he was with Christ.

The community is invited to attend the play, but because seating is limited to about 300 people per performance, those attending are required to have a ticket. The tickets are free and can be obtained at the church, at Harrodsburg Wholesale Tire, B&E Furniture in Danville and WDFB Christian Radio.

If you want to go, performances are 7 p.m. April 9-10 and 10:45 a.m. April 11 at First Church of God, 3220 Harrodsburg Road.

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