Time Capsule: “The Show Must Go On”

“Strange as this journey seems, it has its purpose despite my lack of foresight and knowledge of the end.”

Advertisements

Art. I live for art. I hope to make art. I crave an existence enveloped in art, and I am convinced that I was made to be a part of art. So, I create.

And recently I have been so blessed to delve into various platforms of art, to reflect upon my own words, the stories that have filled my heart, and I know that I am where I’m supposed to be despite the uncertainty of my future. But for now – for now I can trust I am where I’m supposed to be.

STORY TIME:

Years ago I took a chance to hop on the Theatre Train. And I do not regret it. I do not regret coming back to it after a two year hiatus. If anything, I am more convinced this is who I’m supposed to be. Last night, as I sat reflecting on my current circumstances, I became more grateful for my summer job, determined to overcome any opposition or discouragement, and hopeful that I can walk this journey to a great end.

My freshman year of college, at a time when my life choices were more influential to my future than I thought, my dad wrote me a letter. Attached to the letter was a photo of him at nineteen in Germany. On the back: “Follow your dreams.” And I think of these words almost every day.

FLASH FORWARD:

At that point in my life, I thought I would become a journalist, an English teacher, and a Director of a high school theatre. But those were someone else’s dreams. Without the words of my father, I would not have made the choices I have made in my life, some that may seem impossible to explain at times – graduating with a BS in Theatre Arts and a minor in Psychology, joining a ministry for a year where I worked as a farmer, and leaving Tennessee for Louisiana. These are just a few examples. But as strange as this journey seems, it has its purpose despite my lack of foresight and knowledge of the end.

I reflect upon the cheerful thoughts of a freshman Justin in 2012 who took the first steps in this direction.

TIME CAPSULE:

“I like where I am and who I am and who I see myself becoming. I like where God has taken me and where He is taking me.

Here I am a Theatre major with a Music minor, studying two things I never thought I’d be studying.

People always say, “I never saw myself being here five or ten years ago,” and we shrug it off. But we never realize that it’s usually the case for most people, until it actually happens to us.

As most things go, Theatre is tougher than it seems, and I really like it when people who aren’t involved with Theatre say things like, “I can’t imagine all the work that goes into a show.” It’s like they get it without getting it.

On the other hand, there are people who are completely ignorant and say, “That’s gay,” or, “You have no future,” or, “I bet I could do that. It’s so easy.” To those people, I propose a challenge: I dare you to memorize a series of notes of five different versions of the same song, lyrics, dance steps, and blocking. Let’s not forget lines and being in front of people when anything could go wrong. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done with my life, but it’s also one of the hardest. Show people dedicate their lives, and I was recently told their souls, to the craft. It’s not a joke, and I would never treat it as such. (Although the soul thing was a joke, show business is not.)

Monday, I think, I had two hours of music practice, then three hours of dance practice. . . Dedication creates a great work ethic, I guess.”

Picture1
Costume & Makeup Class – Spring 2012

Merciful King: The Promised Herald

Matthew 3

“‘I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.'” – Matthew 3: 11

John the Baptist is a popular name among Christians, but the One who came after Him was far greater – and that man is Jesus.

Back in the day, if a king intended to make a proclamation to his people, he did not have television, the internet, cell phones, nor all the fancy gadgets we have today in order to reach people.

No, a king employed a man called a “herald” who would go to public places and project his voice outward to the townspeople while reading from an officiated decree. That way all the people in the land would know the king’s plan.

In God’s world, He is King. So, He obviously intended to have a herald Himself. [John’s birth story can be found in Luke 1; the confirmed prophecy of John as Christ’s herald is Isaiah 40: 3.]

But what did John the herald proclaim?

Repentance: Like all the prophets before him, John desired that his people would turn their hearts back to God and give up habitually practiced sin.

The Kingdom of Heaven (at hand): True salvation through Jesus Christ – the moment by moment life of Jesus on Earth, as He walked among us as a man.

Where did he proclaim these two ideas?

The wilderness/desert: Unlike a traditional herald, John was not dressed up and primped in order to please the masses. He dressed strangely and had a strange diet. In fact, he may have seemed like a lunatic. Whereas a traditional herald would be proclaiming the news for his king in a public and easily accessible place, John obeyed the Lord and went to the Jordan River. God’s Word through this man was so powerful that he didn’t have to go to them; they came to him. Flocks and flocks of people came to this strange man in the middle of nowhere. And their lives were changed forever.

But then trouble came. The snakes. Having heard of the popularity of water baptism, the Pharisees and Sadducees decided to be baptized as well. But John denied them. Why would he do that?

Two reasons:

Pharisees: Once it seemed like “the cool thing to do,” the Pharisees considered adding the sanctity of water baptism to their religious ideas, without considering the serious commitment of their hearts back to God the Father. Religious tradition contradicts the will of God, that we truly desire Him above our own outward appearance of holiness. We are not meant to change ourselves in order to get closer to Him, but we strive to get closer to Him on a relational level, knowing that Jesus changes us by His power and His sacrifice.

Sadducees: First of all, the Sadducees did not even believe in the resurrection (Matthew 22: 23 – 33), let alone anything having to do with spiritual matters. They were well-educated in humanistic tradition as well. With this in mind, let’s look at the purpose of baptism:

“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” – Romans 6: 3 – 4

Baptism mirrors the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Without belief in Jesus as a once-living man, his death on the cross, his burial in the tomb, and his resurrection and ascension, baptism means nothing. So, like the Pharisees, the Sadducees intended to put on a show, not knowing in their minds what they were meant to do. So much for being well-educated.

But then there was Jesus, at the water’s edge, insisting to be baptized by the man who was unworthy even to hold his sandals. Why would Jesus get baptized if He did not need repentance, if He Himself was the Kingdom Come? Love. Humility. Obedience.

And the Father adored His obedience.

Are you a voice calling out in the wilderness? Do the words of your mouth carry witness to others about whom Jesus is? Would you consider yourself a herald for the King?

“‘The main character in this drama – compared to him I’m a mere stagehand – will ignite the kingdom life within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.'” – The Message