Putting Easter On Trial (Who Moved the Stone?)
If you’re looking for a creative Easter outreach event, Johnny Prime, one of our Associate National Directors, has written a courtroom drama which could be the perfect fit.
Easter is the most important festival on the Christian calendar and is one of the few times of the year that British culture still acknowledges its Christian foundations. Supermarket aisles are filled with chocolate eggs, Easter egg hunts take place at venues across the country, and shop windows are decorated with bunnies and chicks.
This makes for great opportunity to start a gospel conversation with neighbours, co-workers, and the communities we live in. But that is easier said than done: how can we move from the Easter bunny to the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
An Easter courtroom drama
In the same spirit as the successful Mark Drama and inspired by his training as a lawyer, FIEC Associate National Director Johnny Prime has written a court drama to help bring the consequences of Easter to life, titled ‘Who Moved the Stone?’
The drama presents the Easter story in a new way by exploring the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the grave in a court room, with the audience as the jury.
Legionnaire Augustus is on trial for neglecting to guard Jesus’ tomb in the fallout of Jesus’ body’s disappearance, with Defence and Prosecution cross examining witnesses such as Pontius Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea, and Simon Peter.
The script takes a personal turn when the final witness comes to the stand: a member of a local church who literally witnesses about their faith and experience of Jesus.
Finally, the jury are asked to come to a conclusion on what happened at Easter for themselves, with opportunity for a gospel presentation and discussions to follow.
A “memorable Easter weekend”
Gareth Mitchell, Associate Pastor at Christ Church Dunstable, staged 'Who Moved the Stone?' as part of a Good Friday evangelistic event in 2018.
He said “The play was well received by everyone who came. The regular church family enjoyed seeing familiar faces in a new light and felt that the nature and length of the evening made it easy to invite non-believing friends. Visitors seemed to appreciate a simple production done well.
“Serving theatre-style ice cream tubs during the interval meant that everyone enjoyed their evening even more!
“One of the great features of the play is that it is very easy to prepare and perform. The fact that you might not have a church family full of aspiring actors doesn’t need to be a barrier to hosting the production.
“Having chosen the cast, which we did by approaching the most suitable members of the church family, the rehearsals and performance were contained to a 48-hour period, including a script read-through, one acted rehearsal, and one dress rehearsal on the day before the performance.
“There were no elaborate costumes, except basic ones for the lawyers and judge, and very few props.
“Producing ‘Who Moved the Stone?’ as an Easter outreach event worked really well. The theme of the play was very appropriate, and we had the perfect opportunity to invite new friends back for our Easter Sunday morning service.
“A number did come back on the Sunday, and we trust that the Lord will continue to bear fruit from this memorable Easter weekend.”
Showing Who Moved the Stone?
The church in Dunstable filmed their production of the play and have made it available for other churches to download and use at Easter time, including an introduction and a gospel talk from Johnny.
It could be used as part of an online evangelistic event with people watching on Zoom, or on a Premier on YouTube, or simply shared by people in your church with their friends and family to watch and consider at home.
Putting on Who Moved the Stone?
If your church is looking for a creative outreach event this Easter, this could be the answer.
It could be performed in a creative way online using Zoom: with each character named in their Zoom window for others to watch in on live, or pre-recorded and shared online.
Or it could be performed in person in your church building or a community centre.
You will need:
- A venue or online platform (you can be creative or minimalist with your set and costumes!);
- Eight actors to play the parts of the witnesses;
- Two actors to play lawyers;
- An actor to play the judge;
- An actor to play the usher;
- One church member willing to be ‘put on trial’ to witness about their faith;
- A speaker to give a short gospel talk;
- Gospels, tracts, or other resources to offer for people to find out more.
The whole evening, with a short interval and gospel talk at the end, will last between an hour and an hour and a half.
Download the script for ‘Who Moved the Stone?’ below and get creative!