Easter is almost here, and one way to prepare spiritually for the holiday is to attend the New Melle Community Passion Play, in New Melle, Mo., this weekend.

This is the 35th year for the community-wide, non-denominational event that has touched the lives of hundreds of people, both those in the play and those watching it.

The Passion Play is the story of the final days of Jesus Christ, from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday to the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

We attended the play last weekend and were moved by the sincerity and devotion shown by these home-grown actors and singers. We've attended the famous Passion Play held once every decade in Oberammergau, Germany, as well as several visits to the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Ark. The New Melle production is not as sophisticated or elaborate as either of these, but it is heartfelt and moving.

The printed program describes it as "Then Came Sunday: An Easter Musical," and calls it a "work of faith, labor of love."

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Saturday March 19 and at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday March 20. Admission is a freewill donation. The play is presented in the main building of the New Melle Sports and Recreation Center at 4700 Highway Z in New Melle.

As the organizers say on the Facebook page, "Put this on your to-do list for Lent and the Easter Season. It will renew your spirit, kick-start your faith, and add energy to your life."

For more information, call Donna Curdt at 636-791-3497 or via email at NMPassion@gmail.com, or see the New Melle Community Passion Play page on Facebook.