When our bloodied, ravaged Savior carried his own cross to be nailed upon it, He was laying down His life for us. While most of those lining His route jeered and mocked Him, some spectators sobbed at the brutal murder scene they saw playing out before their eyes, not yet understanding anything about a propitiation required for the forgiveness of sins. Knowing nothing of the His resurrection from the grave.
I wonder how they would view a 20-foot sparkly white cross being paraded down the streets of New Orleans, in a live, televised star-studded musical extravaganza 2,000 years later?
Celebrity entertainer Tyler Perry (star of 300 Madea films), is planning to host, narrate, and stage this live spectacle March 20, Palm Sunday, on Fox TV.
He’s calling it ‘The Passion,” a created brand that already has its own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channels.
Gut check the trailer:
If the name Tyler Perry sounds familiar in Christian circles, it’s because he makes it known that he is a Christian. (The kind other Christians gush over when he and his live-in girlfriend have a lovechild.) And he rubs elbows with just about every Christian celebrity mover and shaker you know of.
He gave a eulogy at Whitney Houston's funeral. And he’s the same guy who coached Oprah Winfrey right before she launched her own OWN channels, so that she could talk the talk and proclaim that she, too, is a Christian. As part of her training, Perry took Oprah to Lakewood Church’s very front row to hear Joel Osteen “preach.” (See Why Oprah Winfrey gets coaching to proclaim: "I Am a Christian")
Country music star Trisha Yearwood has been cast as Jesus’ mother, Mary. The Passion’s cast also includes singer-songwriter Prince Royce as the apostle Peter. The songs and the script were written by High School Musical writer Peter Barsocchini and arranged by Glee‘s Adam Anders. They hired Jencarlos Canela, star of NBC's comedy "Telenovela" to play Jesus, and an American Idol contestant to play Peter.
Perry's goal with The Passion:
“My hope and prayer is that it leaves people with a sense of hope-faith-forgiveness,” he said.
And many Christian leaders are probably hoping that this is true, that people who never knew Jesus before would know Him better because of this play. Or perhaps viewers would become interested just enough to try Him out. But if faith comes by hearing, past the New Orleans trombone section and the gorgeous voices, in the glamour and celebrity glitz, will the Gospel be heard?
Will the hundreds of cast members, producers, costumers and crew members look beyond the white illuminated cross to understand that there was a real bloodied cross on which Jesus Christ bled and died? For their sin?