Should Puppets Play Jesus?

Here’s an interesting question that comes up from time to time in puppet ministry…should Jesus be portrayed as a puppet?  It’s a sticky issue for some people.  I mean, Jesus is God.  He is holy, He is perfect, He is the risen Savior.  Is it making light of all that to have him portrayed as a puppet in skit that tells a Bible story?

The puppet team I grew up on never used a Jesus puppet.  We didn’t do very many skits, but we did do a lot of songs where we wanted to represent Christ in some way.  Often we used a light which was attached to a dimmer switch.  A puppeteer would dim the light off and on along with Jesus’ voice.  When the light was shined against a curtain or screen, it was a great effect, and it was very clear to the audience that this was the voice of God or Christ.

Even though the team I grew up on never used a Jesus puppet, I don’t think I ever had a big problem with the thought of using one.  I mean, actors (and for that matter non-actors) portray Jesus all the time in church drama productions.  Is it making light of what Christ did to have a sinful person portraying him on stage?  I would say “no.”

Every puppet team needs to make their own decision about what they feel comfortable with on this issue.  I don’t have a problem with having a Jesus puppet, but I do try to be careful about what that puppet does.  I’m not going to have my Jesus puppet jumping around the stage singing “Mahna Mahna.”  Puppets can be silly, but puppets can also be serious.  When using a Jesus puppet, it’s probably good to keep the silliness somewhat in check.  We also want to be careful about what a Jesus puppet might say.  We don’t want to have the puppet come up and say, “Hi boys and girls, I’m Jesus!”  Well, no He’s not…he’s a puppet of Jesus.   I would tend to use a Jesus puppet in Bible story skits, rather than having him speak with the kids the way a character like Elmo might.

Spend some time praying about this issue, maybe even discuss it with your pastor or children’s pastor.  God will show you how to proceed.

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