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Neighbor to Neighbor: We felt like we were there 2,000 years ago

The performance was to be held in Dix Hills at the beautiful and spacious Upper Room Ministries, 722 Deer Park Rd. (one mile south on the L.I.E. at exit 51). Ann and her husband, Jim, have run bus trips there, and elsewhere, for years and are certainly to be thanked and commended for sharing gems like this with so many people.

No matter what one's type or level of religion might be, if theater is of interest, I believe the performance of "The Night the Angels Sang" by this company would keep the viewer enthralled. Especially those in the audience who are members of some Christian denomination would have to feel they were there, in Nazareth , living every minute - almost feeling the dust from the road on our feet, feeling the joys and sharing the pain.

When we "arrived in Nazareth," we were fortunate to be greeted by John the Beloved, as he walked near a modest clay home. He invited us on his journey - and what a journey it would be!

We had no reservations at the town's inn and arrived in time to find out that there was no more room. It was not such a problem until a young couple came along in desperate need, since the young woman was about to give birth. The inn keeper made space for them - not in the inn, but in the stable. So began the life of a baby who would become a carpenter, teacher, healer and savior of a multitude then and now.

As we bore witness to some of the miracles the performed before us, we prayed for the same kind of miraculous healing for members of our families, friends and neighbors in need of some special blessing.

As our admiration grew for this Jesus of Nazareth, we were disturbed to find out that his good works and intent were misunderstood. He made some of the important people in government feel so threatened that he was arrested. The judge before whom he was brought, said he felt he was innocent, but, as all too often happens, a crowd, uncaring of justice, demanded conviction and death.

It had been sad to see someone who claimed to love him, identify him to his enemies - and with a kiss at that. Once captured, every one or his friends, fearing for their own lives, forsook him as well. What pain that must have caused - almost as much as the physical pain of being bloodied by flogging, and feeling the thorns piercing the flesh of his head as he staggered and fell under the tremendous weight of the wooden cross he was forced to carry to Calvary. Why wouldn't the guards let anyone help him? Every time someone tried, the guards forced them back. Then, the unthinkable happened. Without hesitation, the guards drove spikes into his hands and feet onto the cross he had just carried. It stood before us, an awful spectacle - a reminder of how cruel people can be, even to these whose only purpose is to save them.

This might have been the end of an ordinary story. This was not, however, an ordinary story, nor were those on and around that venue ordinary people. They had been with us all evening, leading us back in time, in song, dance and dramatic assurance that the part or history we had heard about all our lives, was true. Then the miraculous ending of the story took place before our eyes: After his death and burial, Jesus had been entombed and a huge closure had been placed over the entrance of the tomb. We watched as the closure was rolled away and witnessed that he was no longer there. He, instead, appeared before us, newly clothed and radiant, appearing to stand in a heavenly cloud, raising his arms as if to acknowledge a promised victory and to assure us of a safe trip home.

We would have liked to congratulate each participant personally for the hours and talent they spent presenting this wonderful gift to us. But our bus was waiting, and some of us who are volunteers with The Cornucopia Food Pantry in Rosedale had to be at work early the next day. If you are interested in reservations for the Easter or the next Christmas presentation, you may wish to call the Upper Room at (631) 242-5359.

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