Love Equals an Empty Tomb a breathe taken Easter story
By Marie Carrie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Easter story has NEVER been told quite like this! As Christal Walker took the stage at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Hallendale Beach on April 18, everyone in the audience went with her on a breathtaking and inspiring 80 minute journey through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A story that has been told for over hundreds of years felt like an eyewitness account. In addition to Christal’s amazing storytelling, a cast of 20 re-enacted scenes, performed interpretative dance, and sang heartfelt songs, such as “Alabaster Box”.
This rendition was so touching that audience members rose to their feet and sang along as each person connected to the woman who humbly used the expensive oil from her alabaster box to wash the feet of Christ in preparation for his death.
This scene and song choice, as well as the entire production, were the vision of Christal Walker. The master storyteller wrote, directed and produced, the breathtaking show. “I didn’t know what this was going to be. When it came into my mind I thought I would just say a little something. But the very first year I put it on, it just moved,” says Walker.
She goes on to say “It will always remind me of the power that God has had in my life. Because I wasn’t sure I could do it.” That was five years ago and each year the show has grown and expanded as Christal’s vision has grown and expanded.
Christal’s gift for oratory began long before this moment however. In fact it can be said the spelling of her name alone was indication of the special gift she would share with the world.
According to her mother Betty White Walker, “That was my first child and I always wanted her to have Christ first in her life so I spelled her name Christal.” Reflecting on her childhood, Ms. Walker states, “She has always had this gift and talent. She had such a love for God and the Bible and she could just memorize long verses.”
Christal’s talent goes far be-yond just memorizing though. She has the ability to bring the word to life! “It is amazing. It is a gift from God that only she has,” observes Barbara Smith, stage manager for the Empty Tomb production. Smith shares how Christal was not only charged with writing and memorizing 17 pages of script but flawlessly executing each word as well.
Judging from the standing ovation she received when she was called back to the stage for her final bow, Ms. Walker not only met, but exceeded the challenge.
On Easter Sunday, Christal and the cast performed the play again at the Adrienne Arsht Theater in Miami. Despite the accolades it has received, Marketing Director Julia Brown has a vision that far exceeds the production’s local success.
“My vision is that the same as people who were going up to Lake-and to see The Passion, this will be our passion. I predict people will be coming into Miami and Fort Lauderdale to see this performance.”
In fact Christal may be enjoying even more immediate success if her storytelling is chosen to be a part of the Free Gospel Sunday Concert Series at the Adrienne Arsht Center. According to her marketing director, her name is already on the short list of possible talent for the event.
Clearly, there are amazing things in store for Ms. Walker and the talented individuals at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.
Unfortunately, if you missed this year’s performance, you will have to mark your calendar and wait till 2015. And you can guarantee it will be bigger and better than ever.