When Monica Andermann asked a friend to church on Easter Sunday, her friend replied ‘No thanks … I’ve heard that story before. I know how it ends’. Do you ever feel like you’ve heard it all before? It’s easy to become complacent about well-known Bible stories, especially when you’ve been around Christian circles for a long time. If I’m in a church service and the minister announces that we’re going to look at The Prodigal Son or the Parable of the Sower, I groan inwardly. ‘Not that one again.’ How sad is that though? How sad to lose our wonder at the amazing things God has done on our behalf.
At Easter we celebrate all that Christ did for us on the cross. How phenomenal is it that God sent His Son to die for our sins so we could spend eternity with Him? God’s word is just as ‘alive and active’ as it was 2000 years ago (Hebrews 4:12). However, I think part of our challenge as Christian writers is to communicate Biblical truth in fresh ways. How could we do that with the Easter story?
A few years ago, our minister invited the congregation to read a book of devotions by Walter Wangerin Jr. for the 40 days leading up to Easter. I bought a copy of Reliving the Passion thinking that it would all be pretty familiar to me. However, it was more than a set of devotions. It was told with drama, dialogue, internal monologues and great emotion. As I read each day’s entry, I was able to look into the thoughts of Peter and Mary Magdalene. I was able to see and hear what was going on and it helped me to gain fresh insights. Here’s a sample based on Mark 15:1 after Jesus has been delivered to Pilate:
Jesus, how do you feel? What are you thinking? You don’t talk. Your mouth has been closed for such a long time now. Last night, before the legal machinery caught hold of you and began to grind you in its wheels, you said your soul was sorrowful, even unto death—and then your eyes revealed the grief. I saw it. But now, in the dawn of your deathday, your face is expressionless. I can read nothing in your eyes. Jesus! Jesus! How do you feel right now? What moods contend within you? What worlds collide inside your soul? O Jesus, are you hating? Are you praying? Are you screaming silently? Are you thinking about me now? (p. 94)
Singer-songwriter Don Francisco also used first person in his classic song He’s Alive which is written from Peter’s perspective. Through the lyrics, we see Peter move from doubt to hope to belief as he sees the empty tomb and later encounters the risen Lord face to face. The song always gives me goose bumps. To listen to it, click here.
I tried my hand at a ‘different’ kind of Easter poem by writing from the perspective of Barabbas, the criminal released at Passover in the place of Jesus. There’s not a lot of information about Barabbas in the Bible, so I had to try to imagine how he would have felt. I took the perspective that he may have thought they were leading him out to be crucified, but instead he found himself a free man. To read it, click here.
As you contemplate what Jesus has done for us this Easter, try looking at it with fresh eyes and meditate on how amazing his sacrifice of love was both then and now. If you were going to write a story, song, poem, script or devotion about Easter, how could you give it an original spin? Or perhaps you’ve already written something along those lines. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.
Andermann, M. A. (2014). Same old story. In M. Nutter (Ed.), Penned from the heart (vol. 21, p. 57). New Wilmington, PA: Son-Rise Publications.
Wangerin, W., Jr. (1992). Reliving the passion. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 140 short pieces published, including devotions, true stories, magazine articles, academic papers, poetry and short fiction. She loves sharing what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same. She and her husband Tim have their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish. You can find her weekly writing tips blog at their website: http://www.thewriteflourish.com.au