I’ve worn many hats over the years, but never that of a Roman Centurion. Well…we ticked that box over the weekend. But we didn’t stop with just a hat. I quite willingly girded my loins with the passably authentic uniform of a Roman Centurion, then stood proud on display for an impassioned gathering of friends and strangers. It was Easter, and our church drama team needed me, or someone like me, to play one of four Roman soldiers who would beat and torture, then re-enact the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We killed Jesus.
Ana volunteered me for the play, the good woman that she is, and for a time, I held unkindly thoughts toward her for doing so. I am Terry Goodlad, after all; a gun-toting, Harley riding, tattooed and bad guy fighting, fearless protector alpha male. I don’t do plays.
And I held onto that self-absorbed and arrogant position for the first couple of rehearsals until I had a long talk with two others in the play. They had traveled some rough road, like me, and needed grace, like me, and they opened my eyes and heart to a much greater purpose for doing this play than what revolved around me.
We were there to re-enact the unjust horror that Jesus endured, and his tragic death, all so we could be forgiven for our sins. For the story to impact others, it was our responsibility as Roman soldiers to be as angry and cruel and filled with hate as the men who had killed Jesus at his actual crucifixion. I don’t hate Jesus, or anyone else. I had some acting to do, we all did, and with prayer, we were given all we needed to do the job we had been called to do.
Good Friday came, and every man, woman, and child in the cast gave all they had to make it feel real. Both believers and non-believers wept; there was barely a dry eye in the church. Many gave their lives to Christ, and I learned about serving where I am called to serve. Not where and how I think I should, and to do so obediently, with humility and purpose.
God’s plan is much better than anything we could come up with, yet we foolishly try to navigate life by our own reconning. I won’t do that again. I think only a fool would try.
This is a video of the complete service. It is a message well-worth hearing, and it puts our production near the end in context.
Our Pastor is Alex Pappas, a truly anointed man of God.