Northeast Mississippi churches use drama and current events to drive home the Easter message

By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal

During Easter and Holy Week some area churches are stepping outside the box to provide experiences that bring the faithful deeper into the drama of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

– East Heights Baptist Church in Tupelo is presenting a kind of hybrid drama, combining Biblical, historical scenes with episodes from modern life.
Starting next Sunday, and continuing for the following three Sundays, “From the Tomb to Your Room” will take people inside the experience of Christ’s ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and the day of Pentecost. Then, actors will show how the lesson from each episode relates to modern life.
“We’ve chosen this progressive format to represent the fact that Christ’s life, like our life today, was a daily walk, not a one-time event,” said the Rev. Gary Townsend, East Height’s worship pastor.
Mar. 21 and 28; April 4 and 11, at 10 a.m. 205 Lake St., Tupelo, phone 842-4947.
– You wont’ even have to get out of your car to enjoy “Living Pictures: A Tableau of Easter Scenes” presented by Verona Christian Church.
Folks can drive by and see actors portraying “The Upper Room,” “The Garden of Gethsemane,” “The Scourging,” “The Crucifixion,” “The Empty Tomb,” and “The Ascension.”
April 1-2, 7-8:30 p.m. each night. 1282 Palmetto, Tupelo, phone 566-2728
– First Baptist Church Saltillo is staging a passion play based on the Gospel of John. “In the Fullness of Time” will use biblical dialogue, word-for-word, to examine how God preordained Jesus to die at a certain time and place for the sins of humankind.
“We felt John’s gospel was more of a story-telling event,” said the Rev. Bryan Lark, worship leader at First Baptist. “Fullness” is a big production, involving more than 200 people, and it will run April 1-4 at 7 p.m. each night. 311 Mobile St., Saltillo. Admission is free. Visit www.fbcsaltillo.org or check the drama’s preparations by befriending “In the Fullness of Time Group” on Facebook, phone 869-5742.
– For a more current-news take on the relevance of Easter, join the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tupelo at 11 a.m. April 4.
The UU’s will use the Easter story as a lens for examining why the use of torture is morally wrong and should be stopped. The presentation will dovetail with a nationwide project currently being conducted by the National Coalition Against Torture, titled “Ending U.S. Sponsored Torture Forever.”
“The lesson of the resurrection is that there is, within each of us, an eternal part, but that the ever-living nature of the life-spirit must not be an excuse for doing evil to any living creature,” said UU member Bob Spencer. 1301 Marshall St.