Passion of Christ is the story of a Messiah who ‘lived in the street’

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Amid all the Easter eggs and family fun days this year’s April holiday will offer Lanarkshire people something quite different.

Celebrating what many see as the real meaning of Easter, local churches are staging a dramatic interpretation of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

It is being staged in Hamilton, may be Lanarkshire’s first Passion Play, and is one of only two to be staged in Scotland this year (the other one is in Edinburgh).

Advance publicity for “Walk with Christ”, which has involved Hamilton churches, suggests it has had a profound effect on the people charged with bringing to a new audience the story at the very heart of the Christian faith.

Reverend Ross Blackman of Hamilton Old Parish Church said: “The inspiration behind this is my desire to use more of the performing arts in worship and in Christian education”.

The play begins with street theatre down Quarry Street on Palm Sunday (April 9) which depicts Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Short scenes will then be performed as part of the nightly evening services throughout the week, and on Easter Sunday morning (April 16).

Each day the cast will bring to life a key event from Jesus’ final week, including the washing of the feet, Judas’ betrayal, the crucifixion and ultimately the resurrection.

The people involved come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including a professional actor (Duncan Rennie) playing Jesus, a community company of 32 people aged 8 to 80 playing main parts, and several more “extras” drawn from surrounding churches.

Caroline Goodship, who plays Mary, said: “Being in the Passion Play is something I never thought I would do and being part of it has strengthened my faith and my determination to live life to the full.”

Performing the play has also been seen as an opportunity for churches to work together in their local community. We’re told: “It acknowledges that the Jesus of the Bible was in the street, amongst the people.”