Some years ago, I was working quite closely with the artist Liz Lemon Swindle and the scholar/author Susan Easton Black. We were each laboring to use our talents to produce creative works about the life of Christ. We felt passionately devoted to it and were each going to great lengths to make sure that our presentation of art, music and the written word was as accurate a portrayal as possible of the way things were 2000 years ago. While seeking to strictly adhere to historical information, we were mostly hoping to find and recreate the FEELINGS of those unparalleled days when our Lord walked the earth. One of the exercises we used to accomplish this was a series of photoshoots where we would film people in period costume performing a reenactment of the events we wanted to portray. The experience of our Lord in Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion was one of those necessary events we chose to focus on. While traveling through the Holy Land in April 2001, we spent quite a considerable time in Gethsemane, taking photos and pondering the mystery of that gardenplace. Then, later in the year, we gathered one evening as a team in Liz’s backyard for a photoshoot and tried to recreate the emotion of that terrible night. We had dramatic music playing as Christopher, our Christ bearer came into the picture and began to put himself, as best he could, in Jesus’ place. My work at these photoshoots was to take video footage from different angles that could later be used by Liz as additional reference material to help her in her painting. The video images would also serve me as emotional stimulus for the writing process. At one point in the photoshoot that night, the gentleman portraying the angel that came to strengthen Jesus entered the scene and began to comfort the exhausted Christ. Watching this display of reverenced love rendered by this mighty angel to his Savior had a powerful effect upon me. While the emotion surged I was overcome with great love for my Savior. I realized at that moment, that I wanted to be that angel. I wanted to comfort Jesus, and wipe away His blood, and hold Him in my arms, encouraging, and strengthening: “You can do it Jesus. Don’t fail us. You can do it.” I knew I was looking at actors. I knew we were in Liz’s back yard. I knew it was the year 2001, but somehow that night, through that video viewfinder, the image of that event had its unforgettable effect upon me…Oh, how I wanted to be that real blessed angel! Now, I’m certain that I was not—but at that moment I wanted to be…which later got me to thinking…If seeing a dramatization of that event—a pretended version—had such an impact on me, what must the real night of blood and tears so long ago have caused me to feel if I had been permitted to watch from my heavenly window? And if I felt that way through His Gethsemane, what does my faithful, loving Savior feel as He looks upon me in mine?
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