My husband and I started leading the puppet ministry at our church several years before I actually hired on as staff. As completely dorky as puppet ministry sounds, it is one of the most fruitful ways that we have been involved. The youth who are now graduating still talk about the music and messages they first heard from the mouths of felt characters, back when they were small. With our combined creativity and resourcefulness, my husband’s extraordinary gift at bringing the puppets to life, and my ability to manage young people, we’ve come up with fresh ideas and lively shows for probably 14 years now.
Back around the time I summarized my personality for casting directors by appearing with Jesus and Moses, we took on organizing a puppet dinner theater for Holy Week. It involved preparing a dinner, decorating a dining room, seating charts, ticket sales, and a million little mind-boggling details. But the biggest endeavor was working with half a dozen teenagers to put together a three act show that would keep the audience’s attention between courses of food. Apparently the six weeks of rehearsals that led to our Good Friday show made as big an impression on me, as they did on the puppeteers, because every Good Friday, the soundtrack from Fish Tales runs through my head like, “Baby, Baby, Yeah,” after a Justin Bieber Today Show appearance.
There was a song about the feeding of the 5000, where Jesus took one child’s lunch of loaves and fish, and multiplied it to feed the entire crowd: or as the song put it, “fish sandwiches! What a plan was his! Supernatural Supper for the multitude!” Of course, you can’t forget the Good Friday number, “It was a good day. On a bad day.” Or the finale, “Do not fear! He was crucified, but he escaped the grave, he’s not inside, no, he’s not here. He is alive!”
Ten year old puppet lyrics, trumpeting through my mind, and recalling at once both the demands and the joy of a vibrant ministry. And, at the same time, filling my heart and mind with the bittersweet, compelling truth that this week is all about: the teachings, the sacrifice, and the resurrection of Christ.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split Mathew 27:50-51