An evening with the Gospel of John

Storyteller Kelsey Cratty will deliver the "Gospel of John: The Spoken Word" at 6 p.m. at the Farmington Presbyterian Church. The one-woman show, will begin with Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and run through to Jesus' resurrection. 

Craig Vaughn, Daily Journal

Combining the passion of Scripture and the intimacy of the theater, Unbroken Bones Productions will present a one-night performance of “The Gospel of John: A Spoken Word” at 6 p.m. today at the Farmington Presbyterian Church.

During the one-woman show, Kelsey Cratty will deliver the Gospel of John in its original format, as a storyteller talking to a small gathering about the life of Jesus.

“It is the word-for-word Gospel of John dramatized,” Cratty said. “So there will be minimal sound and some props, but mostly it is a way to have an intimate experience with the word of the Lord in kind of its original format. It used to be passed down in a storytelling, verbal manner.”

Although Cratty does perform the entire gospel, which usually runs more than two hours, she will be delivering only one half of the John’s work, beginning with John 11 and continuing through John 21.

“It is basically the scene of the raising of Lazarus through Passion Week and to the Resurrection of Jesus,” Cratty said. “It has been really powerful to me to see how the word of God is in the spoken form, and so far people have been really receptive.”

Cratty is always amazed by the responses she has received by audience members, especially from those who weren’t expecting to be captured by a story from the Bible.

“I continually get people who say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was so engaging,'” Cratty said. “Then they look kind of guilty like they've given away their dirty secret that they thought the Bible was going to be boring.”

Although Cratty does not have any doubt in the word of God, she understands not everyone will share her beliefs or devotion, but she does offer another way for them to think about the text of the Bible.

“I believe it is the word of God,” Cratty said. “I believe it’s powerful, and it’s living. But even if you don’t believe, you have to ask why this text has lived for so long. It has caused people to be murderers, it has changed people’s lives and caused them to change their lineage. It has had such impact for thousands of years that there has to be something to it.”

Before doing her one-woman show, Cratty had been involved in acting. A graduate of Hope College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater, she has received several awards for acting and was recognized as a theater student showing promise in her career.

Upon graduation, Cratty worked for two years as an actress in Houston before answering a calling stronger than the stage. She worked as a missionary in Honduras and with the Micah Project where she became a teacher, a mentor and a big sister to young boys lost in the world.

It was during her mission work where Cratty really discovered John’s word and, according to the young actor, to know Jesus.

“The Gospel of John is really what kept me afloat during a difficult year filled with tragedy after tragedy,” Cratty said. “But there was peace, and the ability to go forward because of the way I got to know Jesus and the Lord’s sovereignty.”

Cratty’s began memorizing the gospel at the beginning of that year. For her, it was what lead her to that peace she speaks about. Unbeknownst to her, it would be those same verses that would lead back to the States and to the theater.

“I had no idea this would lead to a production,” Cratty said. “It was my lifeline for that year. The way God resurrected my acting career is so special and it was definitely not what I had expected.”

For more information about the performance, contact the Presbyterian Church at 573-756-4482.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com.

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