An Oklahoma City church plans to offer a Lenten program that combines tenets of the law and faith.
A dramatization called “The Capital Sentencing Phase of the Trial of Jesus Christ” will be presented at 9:30 a.m. March 25 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4400 S Shartel.
The Rev. Randall Spindle, the church's preaching minister, said the drama has not been presented in Oklahoma before but has been showcased in other states including Illinois, Virginia and Indiana. It will be performed by two Christian attorneys from Chicago: Jeanne Bishop, a Presbyterian, and Mark Osler, an Episcopalian. Spindle said Bishop is the niece of a Westminster Presbyterian couple, Stewart and Sandy Meyers.
Spindle said the court
Bishop is a criminal defense attorney with the Cook County Public Defender's Office in Chicago. She is an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Northwestern University School of Law and does pro bono work in memory of her sister who was killed in 1990 along with her husband and unborn baby by an intruder at their Winnetka, Ill., home.
Osler, a Yale Law School graduate, is the author of the book “Jesus on Death Row,” which features a comparison of the arrest, trial and execution of Jesus to modern criminal law. He is a former federal prosecutor with the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Detroit and now teaches at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis.
Spindle said the Rev. Charles Blizzard, chaplain at Casady School, will portray Jesus, although he will not say a word because Jesus did not speak during his trial, according to Scripture.
Spindle said the dramatization is not a way to advocate for or against the death penalty.
“It's an effort to dramatize the most famous trial and probably the most unjust trial,” Spindle said.
“This is designed to make a faith statement.”
Sarah Adams-Cornell, the church's director of communications, said it's important to note that Bishop and Osler will use modern-day Oklahoma law to present their cases for and against death for Jesus.
“We usually view the story in an emotional way,” she said. “To see it from a legal standpoint — how would an attorney defend or prosecute Jesus? — it's very interesting.”
Spindle said the presentation is open to the community at a time when Christians reflect on Christ's Passion.
“It's not a cantata or a pageant — it's different,” he said. “It's going to be a wonderful event.”