Unified Light

I suppose I could find a way to brag about something, if I really wanted to. I could talk about winning “Best of the Best” at District Theatre Competition, or the straight superiors the judges gave me at State level. Perhaps, when John Travolta held the door open for me, or that time I performed Shakespeare for the Mayor of Athens (Greece, not Georgia). Of course, those competitions were in High School. John Travolta did not know who I was, or care for that matter. As for the Mayor of Athens, well, that was pretty cool. But he didn’t stick around and shake our hands or anything. What really makes me proud, however, and what I consider worth talking about, is a bunch of Catholics, Methodists, and Pentecostals gathered under one roof (on purpose), and The WordPlayers being in the middle of it. Yeah, it really happened.

The moon was enormous when I came over the ridge into Maynardville: an alarming, inescapable light, looming over the hills, and brightening the landscape that should have been lost in the darkness of coming night. It gave one the feeling that something was about to happen. Now, I knew this performance of our Advent touring show Sleepers, Wake! was for a collaboration of Churches, but it wasn’t until I was face to face with the Pastors, and Priest, of three vastly different traditions, that it really sunk in. They pray together every Thursday morning. This is monumental. The performance went well, but I don’t know who was more inspired. They spoke highly of us, but I just wanted to grab them by their ears and shout “what you are doing is beautiful, and it is the thing that will make the Kingdom of God visible to the world!”

People could make jokes that it was the full moon that made something like that occur. But let us all take note of the saintly example that Father Steve, Pastor Bryan, and Pastor Cathy set for us. In Knoxville, and perhaps the whole country nowadays, the church down the street is competition. But thanks be to God that someone is willing to set aside differences for the sake of unifying the Body of Christ. The gospel will only be taken seriously where Christians consider Jesus a bigger deal than their differing opinions. As the closing line of our Advent show says, “it’s time, time for us to wake up.”

The moon, large and fascinating is it was, has no light of its own. Just a big, gray ball of dirt. The Church, large and interesting as it is, has no light of its own. But when they are aligned with the true source of Light, they reflect its light into the darkness. The fullest moon in Maynardville Saturday night was the Church, a unified body. May we follow that example, with Christ as our Head, to struggle as a patient in physical therapy, bringing together every different muscle and tendon in the body of Christ, to represent Him as alive and well. No more can we be a paraplegic Christ and expect the world to listen. Rise, together, take your mat and walk! The Lord is Ancient and Strong. He is brave and capable. He is One, and His people must be the same.

Ethan Norman
Artistic Associate, The WordPlayers