USF grad’s portrayal of Jesus an annual role in Lenten production
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News April 6, 2012 1:12PM
University of St. Francis graduate Scott Hansen of Aurora bears the cross as he portrays Jesus in "The Seven Last Words of Christ." | submitted photo
Updated: May 9, 2012 8:05AM
Despite his long hair and full beard, University of St. Francis graduate Scott Hansen isn’t generally mistaken for Jesus Christ, but for three years, Hansen has portrayed him in the annual traveling Lenten production “The Seven Last Words of Christ.”
And while depicting Jesus was absolutely exhilarating for Hansen the first time, four years ago, as a newbie Christian, Hansen has discovered that, as his faith deepened, so did his ability to personify the savior of the world.
“The whole purpose of the production is to get back to the foundation our faith is built on,” said Hansen, of Aurora, a teacher at Millbrook Junior High School. “We want to make it an experience where people can feel the love of God.”
So how was Hansen, who had no previous acting ability, selected to portray Jesus in an all-girl theater troupe? The aunt of his wife, Jenny, is friends with Simonetta Pacek, director of the Little Flower Dance and Theatre Troupe of Homer Glen, which presents the show. One look at Hansen and the troupe knew it had found its man.
“I had just come to the faith, so I was on fire for the Lord,” Hansen said. “God wants us to be obedient, so when they asked me, I thought, ‘He’s certainly getting started with me right away.’ But I thought I’d give it a try and see what he had in store.”
Road to faith
One person played a key role in bring Hansen to the faith and that is Jenny. Hansen had met her several years ago through mutual acquaintances. As their friendship grew, Scott became impressed with the depth of Jenny’s faith, not just in her church activities (She was heavily involved with small group and childcare ministries in her church), but in the overall way she conducted her life.
For Hansen, who had been baptized as a small child and whose parents belonged to mainstream denominations, although they did not attend church, Jenny’s personal walk with Jesus was inspiring to witness.
“Jenny really lives out her faith,” Hansen said. “She has demonstrated to me what it’s like to be a Christ follower — she has gone through adversity and still has this great faith — and what it really means to live one’s life in sacrifice for God and others.”
As he discussed marriage with Jenny, Scott realized he truly desired to be equally yoked to her. Together, they visited area churches until they found one fed them both spiritually.
There, Hansen learned the tenets of the Christian faith through the church’s Crossroads University, which he said, teaches topics as the sacraments and the importance of Sunday worship. He also learned some life lessons not formally taught, such as not judging the upper class.
“Jenny and I have met people who are in quite a few tax brackets higher than us,” Hansen said, “yet they’re walking with the Lord and serving him.”
A seasoned performer
Exactly four years of experiences later — Hansen was baptized April 8, 2008, so this Easter Sunday is his anniversary — and the fact he’s now a husband and the father of Lily, now 10 months old, Hansen brings a seasoned maturity to his annual role as Jesus.
“The fact that I want to be a better man of God — a better husband, a better father and a better friend, makes it easier for me to ‘let go and let God,’” Hansen said.
“As I’ve grown, it’s been easier for me to let him guide my actions and emotions.”