I love infomercials. Seriously, I find them very entertaining and at times inspiring. I actually have an appreciation for the people who strive to invent things to make our lives easier.
In some ways I think that’s part of the job description for pastors and their families. We take scripture and Biblical principles and we try to present it in a way that is relevant and enticing. But, sometimes things aren’t communicated in the way we envisioned. Below is one of my favorite stories of a church service gone wrong. This piece was written by our good friend Sean Mitchell. It is his account of exactly what happened on an Easter Sunday a few years ago.
Ladies and Gentlemen I now present the Blooper Reel!
The Easter I Became A Roman Soldier Hero
I was playing a Roman soldier in Masters Commission’s annual Easter production at Glad Tidings. I was supposed to be asleep after the angel of the Lord touched my shoulder, but it was my time to be remembered as the Roman soldier who saved the congregation from utter peril.
I do not remember what year it was, but it was Master’s Commission’s (MC) Easter performance that we had been preparing for a couple of weeks. The stage was coming together as lighting and props fell into place. The cast was carefully rehearsing each part. Victor Castillo and I were Roman soldiers—our job was to stand guard at the spray painted Styrofoam tomb, covered with moss taken from a tree in the church parking lot.
It was an early morning on performance day. I can remember that the first performance went off without a hitch. Jesus successfully fed the multitudes, healed the lame, forgave the sins of many, was crucified, buried, and resurrected during the nine o’clock service—one performance down, one more to go.
There was a scurried rush to get props and people back into place before the 11 o’clock service. Victor and I, were rehearsing our part at the tomb with Brian Brooks (Brooks), the angel of the Lord. Just before I went back behind stage, Bryan Morrison (Morrison), a very southern, jolly, limp-strolling lighting and sound technician decided to add flash string around the stone coving the tomb (something that should have never been done without testing before the performance). The string was to sparkle and flash around the circumference of the tomb for added dramatic effect before Brooks rolled it away. It was almost prophetic-like, the way Morrison explained that he placed a fire extinguisher inside the tomb for any unexpected situations.
It was Jesus’ time to come out of the tomb as the resurrected Son of God, ending the Passion Week performance with a bang (or perhaps ‘flash’ would be more appropriate). Victor and I were stoically guarding the tomb when Brooks gently touched our shoulders to put us asleep. At that moment, the flash string began to travel around the back of the circular stone. About halfway around the tomb, the sparkling flash string ignited the moss sitting on the tomb. Suddenly, a typical Easter performance began to heat up. Brooks stood steadfastly next to the now open tomb as an unexpected fire began to rage. Jesus, not knowing what was happening outside of the flammable tomb, came out of the tomb in glory, and fire.
“Brooks, Brooks,” I yelled, hoping that he would recognize that four feet away was an increasingly large inferno. Almost instinctively I rose from my Roman soldier slumber, rushed into the tomb, grabbed the fire extinguisher, came out, put out the fire, put the extinguisher back inside the tomb, and laid back down to continue my part.
The show went on and the congregation stayed despite the smoky atmosphere. Minus the fiery tomb, we finished a very memorable performance—and no, we did not save the half charred Styrofoam tomb. I would presume that tomb has found a home at the local Austin landfill. To this day, my MC alumni friends and I still laugh at the Easter I became a Roman soldier hero.
For more informaion on Sean and his fabulous wife Heidi, check out her website at http://www.hmitchellsalon.com/bio/.