CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter
The kids at our church did Godspell, Jr. for worship last Sunday. It’s a slightly cut-down version of Stephen Schwartz’s original. With a small cast, it can be performed almost anywhere, with minimal props. In our case, it was performed by a marvelously talented bunch of 6th through 12th graders.
Adrian Cox-Thurmond was Jesus. He did a great job of singing and acting.
When it came to the crucifixion scene, I was suddenly struck dumb. I started to cry. I had not felt the force of that crucifixion in 70 years of reading and studying the Bible. Reading and studying are different from experiencing.
I found myself saying, “But I KNOW that boy!”
That makes a difference, that personal connection. But I can’t have a personal connection to every one of the two billion or so folks with whom I have shared this planet. Does that mean I can’t or don’t care about them?
That’s where the stand-in comes on stage. “Stand-in” is a theater term, the one who literally stands in for the star, when there is lighting or blocking that is beneath the star’s status.
But it’s also theological. The crucified Jesus is the stand-in for every person in pain. “If you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it to me.” [Matthew 25:31-46.] On Sunday, Adrian was the stand-in for Jesus, and Jesus was the stand-in for each of us in the congregation. As I look at Jesus, standing-in on the cross, I see every broken body and tortured soul in the world. In Christ, I KNOW that person!
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