One of our faithful interns, Kelly (pictured), wrote the following about her experience at the Faith Church Living Nativity event and her role in it as a mocker at the Cross of Jesus Christ:
I was excited to participate in my church’s living nativity this year, for the first time in my life. When I found out the part I was given to play was a mocker of Jesus on the cross, I was disappointed, and not really sure what to expect. As I questioned others who I knew had played the same role in the nativity in past years what it was like, I got the simple answer multiple times that, “It’s just hard to mock Jesus.” When the day finally came and I was to perform that night, I started to dread it. I read my part in the Gospel before I left, and it felt so unnatural for me. Me? Mock Jesus? This was the Jesus that I have dedicated my life to serve and worship, and yet, tonight I was to place myself shouting insults against Him? This is not who I am! I brought all this to the Lord before I left, questioning the next few hours of what I was to do, yet I knew that He was assuring me that He is in complete control of everything, and what He wanted me to do tonight was no accident. With that assurance, I left confused, but willing. What did He want to teach me through this?
Once I got there, I gave them my name and a godly woman I already knew handed me my costume: the garb of a spiritually blind, proud, angry person. “And who are you tonight?” she asked. I told her who I was; she looked serious and told me that was her same role previously. She had been a mocker two years in a row, and finally, one year as she had been in the middle of her insults, she looked at someone with tears in her eyes and said, “I cannot do this anymore.” I listened to this with my costume in my arms, just minutes before I would put it on. What in the world was I doing? I signed up to serve with the intention of glorifying Jesus, and here was another one who loved Him telling me she could not serve Him in this way again. Lord, why do you have me doing this?
The time came for us to all go to our separate locations, so I slowly walked towards the cross, the scene of where it all would happen. I felt weird standing there, waiting to begin. I said to one of the other mockers, “This just feels so unnatural.” She agreed, and said, “I guess we are just bringing out the darkest parts of our hearts.”
We were given the cue to begin. We started shouting out our insults, looking at the cross, and at the mannequin that was hanging up there. “Crucify Him!” “You are such a liar!”, as I shook my fist. All of a sudden, it became very real. My eyes were transfixed by this empty face on that cross, yet my heart was seeing and thinking of another whose face was represented, and my soul was awakened to remember…to remember…that the mocker, the one going against Him, and offending Him, had once been…me. This was who I was! “Save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” I cried, as tears started streaming down my face. “Come down from the cross and we will believe!” Strangely, as I was in the midst of these insults and a part of them, I felt His Presence near. Emmanuel, “God with us”, was with me, gently answering my threats with, “Yes, this was you. You in your sin; completely offensive and hurtful to Me. This was who you were. Ugly and corrupt. I knew all this about you, and yet, it was you I died for. You I forgave.” “You saved others! Why can’t you save Yourself?” “Yes, I did save you. While you were yet a sinner, I died for you so that you may be saved.” I looked around at the others, and heard their voices and mine together lifted up against Him. I was reminded again of the reality of who I had been, and how great His forgiveness of us was on my heart. I was ashamed of who I had been, yet even in that state, such a great love was given to me. How could this be?
The night ended, and I went home exhausted from all this. The next morning was a Sunday, and I awoke strangely still feeling ashamed, a little guilty, and kind of alone. I prayed to God, asking Him to encourage my heart. When I got to church, I found out that we would hear a Christmas musical. I had expected the normal worship and sermon, and I wondered how God would encourage my heart from the Christmas songs that I had heard so many times already. I sat down and the choir began to sing. As I listened, I thought of myself, my sin, and how offensive to God I had once been. I thought of the cross and my insults… And then I heard the choir singing, “Your goodness is greater”, “Your love has come to make it right.” Again, Emmanuel, “God with us,” was with me, and He stirred in my heart. Joy. “Oh, what a Savior!” they sang. I thought of the love that I had received, all with the fresh memory of the state of who I had been. I had come to marvel and experience this love in a deeper way. I began again to worship, and adore this Savior whose love goes past my understanding. I looked at those around me singing, with hands raised in such a different way than I had seen the mockers around me, shaking their fists at Him. I looked at their faces that were radiant with joy, and so different than the angry, twisted faces I had seen the night before. I was amazed at how changed He had made us from who we once were. Jesus’ coming into our world on that famous night in Bethlehem was indeed good news. The Pastor began to speak, and share 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I can see this now more clearly than I ever have before. I am a new creation. I am in Christ. Who I was- a mocker- has passed away because of Jesus. Who I am now- a worshipper, a chosen daughter of God, and an adorer- has come. And will continue to be! This is who I am!” – Kelly T.
Special thanks to Kelly who gave me permission to post this on our blog. I thought it was a perfect testimony about the transforming grace and power of Christ to turn a mocker into a worshipper.
-Pastor Mark Shaw (grateful to be transformed by grace from mocker to worshipper, too)