On the third of April, we met in a very different venue from our regular pub format. The cellar in The Old Ship Hotel set the tone for an exploration of the empty space between death and resurrection. This was explored through a service which incorporated readings, music, symbolic action, and periods of relfection.
The evening progressed in stages, each set by a visual, with the first being the shadow of betrayal. The table was set as it was during the The Last supper when Jesus spoke of Judas' betrayal. A reading accompanied this which highlighted the scence between Jesus and Judas when Jesus explins that Judas will betray him. A candle was extinguished and a period of silence followed which was accompanied by music.
This foreshadowing led into a reading from Psalms "Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends -- those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by then as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery." This tied into the feelings of Jesus while at Gethsemane, who was anguished. Again, a candle went out.
A reader came forward wearing a shirt stained with woman's lipstick, a modern representation of betrayal. "The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard." Another candle, gone.
A bowl of water and a towel was laid out. The reader spoke as he washed his hands: So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." The fourth candle was extinguished.
After this, the audience saw a crown of thorns. Alongside this was a description of the humilition Jesus went through before he was cruicified. "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our sin; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. He was oppressed and afflicted; yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." During this reading, nails were pounded into a cross int he middle of the room. This was by far the most powerful scene. Not only did the words connect, but the visual of nails being hammered into a cross accompanied by the auditory shock was very moving.
Finally, bread and wine vinegar was passed around a representation of one of Jesus' final experiences on the cross. The evening finished with these words "When Jesus had recived the wine he said 'It is finished.' Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." The tablecloth in the cellar was removed and torn at these words. Darkness followed the absence of the last candle's light.