Published in the March 29, 2017 issue of The Bells
What if you could be a part of a story that’s greater than yourself? It is a story so amazing, it has been passed down for around 2,000 years.
It is a story of resurrection, salvation, and an everlasting love.
The story is that of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection, and the university puts on an annual pageant to portray these events. Students have participated in this tradition for the past 77 years, and will once again take the stage for the 78th time on Wed. April 12 at 12:30, 3, and 5:30 p.m.
The Easter Pageant has been ingrained in UMHB culture and has become a huge community event. Hundreds of people from all around gather to view the Easter Pageant.
The pageant is not only life-changing for those who watch it, but also for those who participate in the program.
The director of the program, senior Christian studies major Maddie Rarick, has been involved with the Easter Pageant for two years. During her second year at the university, she helped Student Foundation transport alumni to a reception after each showing of the Easter Pageant. Last year, she co-led the costumes committee.
Rarick says that everyone, regardless of what roll they play in the Easter Pageant, can learn something important from participating.
“The beauty of being in the Easter Pageant is that you get to see the Gospel story from a different perspective,” Rarick said. “If you are a crowd person, you get to see the Gospel and Jesus from the perspective of the crowds that followed or despised Christ.
If you’re on the props committee, you get to see what physical objects Jesus used, and thus see his humanity in new ways.
If you’re the director, you get to see all those perspectives come to fruition in the minds and hearts of those in the Easter Pageant.”
The director believes students should be involved with the Easter Pageant to see the Gospel in a new way and to be a part of a joyful tradition on campus.
Franklin Groseclose, a junior Christian Studies major and assistant director of the Easter Pageant believes this year’s performance will be one of the best.
“I think this year is going to be awesome. Every year God has given UMHB the gift of clear weather and this year has been no different,” Groseclose said. “As more and more people show interest I, as well as the other directors, become more and more excited. This portrayal of the death and resurrection of Jesus has touched so many, and I can’t wait for more people to experience this awesome tradition.”
Sophie Rivera, a senior Cellular Biology major, will portray Mary, the mother of Jesus, for this year’s Easter Pageant.
She first became involved in the Easter Pageant by helping out in the Makeup Committee her freshman year.
“Seeing how the story of Christ was so pivotal to so many students and seeing how it reached so many people outside of the UMHB campus definitely made it a no-brainer as something that I wanted to be involved in when I got to campus” Rivera said.
Being in the Easter Pageant for this year’s performance has made a big impact on Rivera. Meeting new people and playing the character of Mary has helped her grow in her faith.
“This year’s pageant has really touched my heart in a way it hasn’t before. Being involved in this capacity is a first for me, and being able to meet so many new people who I otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths with has been an incredible experience.”
“Portraying Mary has been absolutely humwbling, yet exciting. Learning about her through this last year has been a joy. I had never reflected on how the crucifixion and resurrection affected her.
She was such a strong woman of faith, and it has given me new a perspective into what Easter means and has taught me what true faith really looks like. I am so thankful for this opportunity. It is one I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.”
Rivera believes that students should get involved in the Easter Pageant because it is one way to communicate the Gospel to those who may not know or truly understand it. Also, it’s another way to unify and get to know one another in and outside of the UMHB community.
“The story of Jesus and the reality of His love is not a gem that should be kept quiet — it is truly a treasure to share with everyone” Rivera said. “This tradition not only brings the campus together, but it allows us to grow together with people we may never have met or spoken to otherwise. It truly unifies our students and gives us an opportunity to do mission work here in our own city.”
Rivera believes that the Easter Pageant is a good opportunity to meet new people, get involved with the community, learn more about Jesus, and tell others about His story and His vast love for everyone.
“If you find yourself bored on a Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday around 4:45-6, we would love to see everyone participate,” Groseclose said. “Even if you just come to watch practice.”