Possum decides he’s going to tell the old story of Easter this year. His friends Rolf, Birago, Nicky, and Dr. Sharpie help him out.
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As usual, the script is below the fold. (The script has not been corrected against the actual video, and may vary in minor details.)
Rolf: It’s time for the old story of Easter.
Possum: This year I’M gonna tell the Easter story!
Possum: The Easter story happened two thousand years ago. Today, it’s hard to say exactly what happened. But we know it started when Jesus entered Jerusalem. On his first day in Jerusalem, Jesus just looked around in the great Temple of Jerusalem. This was the holiest place for Jesus and all other Jews. In the Temple, Jesus saw people who changed money for you, for a fee. He saw people coming and going, taking shortcuts by going through the Temple. And he saw people were selling everything from goats to pigeons.
Birago, Rolf, Muds: Coo! Coo! Baa! Baa!
Possum: The next day, Jesus returned to the Temple. He chased out the people selling things. He upset the tables of the moneychangers. This caused quite a commotion! A crowd gathered around to see what this stranger, this traveling rabbi, was up to. Jesus turned to the crowd, and quoted from the Hebrew scriptures, the book of Isaiah where God says, “My Temple shall be known as a place of prayer for all nations.” Jesus said it was time that the Temple went back to being a place of prayer. How could you pray with all that buying and selling going on? How could you pray with all those pigeons cooing?
Nicky, Rolf, Birago: Coo! Coo!
Possum: Many people thought Jesus did the right thing when he chased the pigeon-dealers, the moneylenders, and the other salespeople out of the Temple. But this annoyed the powerful people who ran the Temple. It made them look bad.
Birago: But they didn’t like that!
Possum: The next couple of days, Jesus taught and preached in Jerusalem. He got into arguments with some of Jerusalem’s religious leaders. He was so good at arguing that he made those powerful people look bad.
Rolf: But they didn’t like that!
Possum: The Romans who ran Jerusalem grew worried about Jesus. When Jesus rode into the city, a crowd of people welcomed him as if he were one of the long-lost kings of Israel.
Rolf: The Romans thought he was up to something.
Nicky: They thought Jesus planning a secret religious rebellion.
Birago: They wondered how many followers he actually had.
Possum: Jesus continued teaching and preaching until Thursday evening, when Passover began.
Sharpie: It’s important for us to remember that Jesus and his disciples were all observant Jews. After sundown that Thursday, they had a Seder.
Possum: Jesus and his followers had wine, matzoh, bitter herbs, all the standard things you have at a Seder. Afterwards, even though it was after dark, Jesus and his followers went to a garden to sit for a while. His followers fell asleep. But Jesus stayed awake because he was worried. He had a feeling the Romans were about to arrest him. But even if he got arrested, he knew wouldn’t regret anything he had said or done.
Nicky: After all, what he had said was the truth.
Possum: And sure enough, the Romans arrested Jesus a few hours after the Seder. They put him on trial that night, and executed him the next day. The Romans put him to death using a common but very unpleasant type of execution known as crucifixion. He died on Friday at sundown.
Rolf: I don’t like this part of the story. [Birago hugs Rolf.]
Possum: The Jewish sabbath started right at sundown. Jewish law of the time did not allow anyone to be buried on the Sabbath day. So Jesus’ friends put his body in a tomb, a sort of cave cut into the side of a hill. That way, his body would be safe until after the Sabbath was over. Early Sunday morning, some of Jesus’ friends went to the tomb to get the body ready for burial. To their great surprise, the body was gone, and a man there talked to them about Jesus.
Sharpie: Because this happened two thousand years ago, we’ll never know exactly what happened. My Unitarian Universalist mother used to say some of Jesus’s other friends must have come earlier and buried the body. Probably the burial took place in secret, and not everyone got told when and where it was.
Possum: Jesus’s followers were disorganized and confused that morning. Even though they all were upset Jesus was dead, they also worried that the Romans might arrest them. But some of Jesus’ followers began saying that Jesus had risen from the dead. And several people even claimed to have spoken with him.
Sharpie: My Unitarian Universalist mother always said that Jesus’s friends were so sad, and missed him so much, that they wanted to believe that he was alive again.
Possum: We Unitarian Universalists say that Jesus does live on, through his teaching. What he taught about the power of love has changed the world. He taught that we should love all people as we love ourselves; and if you can really live your life that way, you’ll find that your world will be changed, too.