Asbury Prepares for Easter with Worship Arts Chapel
WILMORE, Ky. — Asbury University students led campus in a Holy Week meditation during Chapel on Wednesday, presenting a dramatic retelling of the Last Supper followed by Communion.
Fourteen students, playing the roles of Jesus, the 12 disciples and Mary Magdalene, reenacted a portion of the Gospel of John, focusing on Jesus’ Passover meal with His disciples. With dialogue drawn entirely from Scripture, the service invited campus to experience an ancient story in a new way.
“Watching the interaction on stage, you really see how Jesus bonded with His disciples and was their teacher and their friend,” said Hannah Coleman ’19, who played Mary Magdalene. “You see just how much He cares about them. There’s a scene where all the disciples leave, and Jesus knows that Judas will betray Him. It hits home that Jesus was really celebrating the last meal He would have with all of His friends. It reiterates how much He loves us, as well as those He chose to follow Him.”
Director Carol Anderson, an instructor in Asbury’s Theatre & Cinema Performance Program, says the service showcased a growing element of Asbury’s Worship Arts Program.
“Asbury’s Worship Arts program has an emphasis in theater that is really building,” Anderson said. “It’s a great way for students who have gifts in theater, as well as a calling for ministry, to develop those gifts.”
Incorporating theater in worship is part of a long tradition, beginning with medieval passion plays, Anderson says. Today, storytelling is being recognized once again as an important element of worship.
“Ask any student what they do with their spare time, and they’re watching movies and looking at images,” said Anderson. “And yet, church is so often all about words. You can get inured to the story by hearing it, but by seeing it, you have a sense of immediacy. This is one way God speaks through the arts.”
Greg Haseloff, associate dean of Campus Ministries and campus chaplain, says creative touches from the Worship Arts program enrich campus worship.
“It’s another means of connecting through worship, especially for people who learn best in ways that go beyond the auditory,” Haseloff said. “Every time we’ve had some element of the visual arts in Chapel we’ve received such great feedback — theatre can put new expression and life to a Biblical story.”
To learn more about Asbury's Worship Arts program, visit: asbury.edu/Worship.
To learn more about Asbury's Theatre & Cinema Performance Program, visit: asbury.edu/Theatre.