May 2, 2013
From the pages of my journal
Old Town Bucharest is lined with night club after night club, bar after bar. Throw in some tattoo parlors, strip clubs, “massage” parlors, and fancy restaurants and you start to get a glimpse of what this place looks like.
It’s crazy, but awesome all at the same time that this was the site chosen to hold a reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion. The reenactment started at the “square” in front of a bank. All ages, shapes and sizes were there. “Roman guards” managed the crowds backed by police. As we waited for it to begin, we saw Barabas and the guards messing with one another. One of the guards approached the small children in the audience and explained to them what they were about to see (what a precious sight). I witnessed another guard in the corner pause and close his eyes. His lips barely moved but I knew that he was praying. A person in the crowd tried to break into the scene wearing some crazy get up and the police had to escort him away. After waiting what seemed like forever, Jesus’ broke through the crowd and the scene began with Him being brought before Pilate.
The journey of the cross which I have read, heard, and seen in plays and movies countless times before began to unfold in front of my eyes in the most real way it ever has before.
The girls and I got spat on as they spat on Jesus, dust & rocks were thrown our way as they beat and tortured Him. As the soldiers shouted “to death with him” laughs, shouts, murmurs and cries came from the crowd of non-actors. In many ways I felt like this may be what it felt like to be in the crowd on the day Jesus was crucified. The kids and I ran through the streets to keep up with Jesus and the cross and at times even got separated. There was a moment when Jesus looked at my eyes as he laid on the floor. My heart got tight, and a knot in my throat started to form along with the tears that began to fill my eyes. The way he looked at me was so peaceful and full of compassion. Although an actor, I thought of all the eyes Jesus looked at on His way to the cross and the compassion that he spoke through His gaze. I believe that with every look into the crowds eyes, it gave Him strength to continue on and accomplish what God had called Him to do.
There was a point when the crowd came to a stop and this big gypsy woman was behind me, pushing me, and commenting in some inappropriate ways. One of the guards even caught her attention. Even though I was getting mad because she would not let up on me, I remembered the compassion in Jesus’ eyes and remembered that this was for her as much as it was for me.
Tonight is a night that I doubt I will ever forget. No translation was needed. I pray that the kids that accompanied us tonight would begin to understand who this Jesus who they saw depicted really is and how He so much desires to be connected with them