A car had stopped in front of Evangel Temple in Columbus and didn’t move for quite a while.
Paul Thomas walked down the front lawn to see if something was wrong.
When he got there, he found elderly people in the vehicle who were weeping.
“They told me they had never seen anything like it before,” Thomas said.
They were referring to a crucifixion scene, part of an Easter show done by the church.
It was the first year for the show, which Thomas says will be performed for the 19th time on March 24 and 25.
Thomas has served as Evangel Temple pastor since 2010. When he was a member, he participated in the show as a Roman soldier.
“It has real impact on people,” Thomas said.
He said the presentation will be performed in front of the church on Veterans Parkway on both days 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Each presentation is about 15 minutes long and 12 presentations are done.
There is dialogue, Jesus speaking from the cross, something that the church did not have in the early years.
“Our effort is to show people a picture of what that day might have been like. We are remembering a great sacrifice,” Thomas said.
About 75-100 people take part in some kind of role. Besides Jesus and two thieves hanging from wooden crosses, 10-12 feet in height, there are soldiers, Pharisees. and women crying.
“People who have been up on the cross tell me it is a real weight, a very humbling experience,” Thomas said.
The pastor said a woman once told him she could not play a role in which she mocked Jesus. He reminded her it was just acting but she could not continue.
Thomas said more than 40,000 cars pass the church every day.
People react in different ways.
“Some are kind and some are not,” he said.
A few scream remarks that are vitriolic.
“Lord, bless them,” Thomas said. “One way or the other, the scene gets a strong reaction.”
He said everyone is encouraged to stop and spend time at the scene. There will be a special prayer tent nearby.
“Some will tell us the impact we have made but I am sure there is some we never hear about, Thomas said. “We feel what we do is worth the energy and resources.”