Rev Chris update – 26th June 2022
So, I have returned from my travels abroad, thankfully with only slight delays with flights! The main purpose of our trip was to go to Oberammergau and see the Passion Play, about the last week of Jesus’ life. This is performed every 10 years and we had tickets for the 2020 production that was delayed due to Covid.
The origins of the production go back to 1634 to a time when the bubonic plague was sweeping the region. Tradition has it that the performances started as a thankful response to God for the community surviving the ravages of that plague – the irony was not lost on me, as we entered the theatre, that we have been through a global pandemic!
The production is epic and involves a cast of many drawn from the community and runs from May to October, 5 days a week, seating 4500 people at a time. The play runs for a total of 5 hours, although you get a break of 3 hours halfway through. I was singularly struck by the fact that there are no curtain calls by the performers at the end as this is presented as a spiritual experience that connects the audience with the significant events of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is powerful stuff and I challenge anyone not to be affected in some way!
It was interesting to compare the whole experience with our time in Vienna just a few days before when we took the opportunity to see an opera at the Vienna State Opera House (cheap seats!). This was also a wonderful experience and yet somewhat different as we saw the opera Don Giovanni, by Mozart.
Before leaving the UK a couple of people had made the comment that in seeing both productions we will effectively be moving from ‘hell’ to ‘heaven’ – how true those comments were when considering the storyline to Don Giovanni that presents the character as a self-absorbed womaniser with little care for the feelings of those that he engages with. He meets a sorry end of his own making.
The passion play presents a totally different picture of self-sacrifice and suffering for the sake of others, and indeed, a powerful message of the grace and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ as he cries on the cross “forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Hell to Heaven, ignorance to transcendence, turmoil to peace, guilt to innocence, sorrow to joy – this is the Christian message, actually, and more poignantly, this is the CHRIST message.
PLEASE NOTE: The funeral for Gordon Lorimer will be on Friday 1st July, 11.45am, at Vinters Park Crematorium.
Many thanks for the loan of all the bunting for Jubilee weekend. Please collect your bunting from the back of church. Thank you