By Susan Marquez
Madison County Herald
As Holy Week draws near, many Christians are working on their journey towards salvation.
"During this time of year in particular, Christians have to deal with Judas," said John Maxwell, an actor who will portray the character of Judas in a one-man show to be held April 8 at Madison United Methodist Church.
"I've known John for years, and we've worked on several projects together at Galloway," said the Rev. Susannah Grubbs Carr, associate pastor of Madison UMC.
Carr explained that Holy Week is an important time on the journey towards Easter. "Many Christians would rather skip Good Friday altogether, and simply focus on the joy of Easter morning. But to fully understand and appreciate the resurrection, we must make an intentional and serious journey towards the cross," she said.
Carr said that she wanted Maxwell to come do this show as a way to begin the services of Holy Week. "It is during this week that we are made so aware of God's role in our lives. Holy Week is so important in the churches that celebrate the resurrection of our Lord."
John Maxwell is the founder of Fish Tale Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing interest in the Bible through original drama. He has written a variety of Biblical characters in monologues over the years.
"I've been doing the character Judas for about seven or eight years now," Maxwell said. "Judas, to me, is someone we all have to encounter each Easter season. He was an interesting person to research. There are lots of theories about Judas, but we really know so little about the man."
Maxwell said that when he first began working on the Judas monologue, he was very compassionate towards him. "I still am. But what I tried to do was to find a reason for Judas doing what he did. Finally, when I gave him his arrogance, he wouldn't shut up. The words of the script began to flow."
For Maxwell, finding certain triggers helps to open the characters up.
"I also pray a lot when I'm writing the monologues. I have to let myself get out of the way and let God work through me. What I'm hoping is that by seeing my performance, it will kindle a discussion among folks. What I try to give is a perspective that people may not have considered."
Carr said that Maxwell will do the performance in modern dress. "It will help people to better identify with the character of Judas. The point is that any and all of us are guilty of betraying our faith. But in the end, we can be granted forgiveness, and that is a real gift from God. This will help remind us all of how human we really are."
The performance will take place at 6 p.m. April 8 in the church sanctuary. It is free to the public.
"This is a ministry we are offering to the community," said Carr. "We hope that folks from all over the area will feel welcomed to come and enjoy John's portrayal of Judas as the beginning to Holy Week services."