Any Given Friday (part VI)

I gave God an ultimatum!

This is His event. He called me to it. He inspired me. He never calls people to things they can’t do. At the beginning of the day I was missing four actors and if no one came forward I would need to rethink the whole thing. So I sat with some friends and said “There’s nothing else I can do except wait for people to come to me with interest.” I held out hope for one person who, unfortunately can’t perform as he’s in a show next week. This was it. God needed to provide or I’d take it as a prompting to re-look at the event.

‘Do not test Lord your God’ (Deut 6:16)

I know, I know! But how else are we going to find out what He’s doing? I wouldn’t even call it testing. I laid the situation at His feet and said “I can’t do anything without you and I trust that your way is best.”

Silence from God was kept until lunch time when I went home to do some work and preparation for a meeting. I sat down at my computer and cried out “Ok. You can do anything you like. It’s the silence that’s killing me!” I logged onto my emails and there was one email from an actor in Durham interested in the piece. I have heard about this guy and he’s doing a whole heap of work in the theatre scene in Durham. He reminds me of a younger me when I was writing, performing, directing, producing, touring and studying all at once (those were the days!) It was great news he could be involved in the piece.

It was also a great encouragement. God’s silence was broken and I reflected on this for a bit.

My major problem is I can rely on myself too much. I’m skilled at things and can do things to high standard without much trouble. The question is: Is this a talent or a gift from God. Some would argue that God creates all people and gifts them with everything. Whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Jew or Atheist, God has created you and given you giftings and talents. So what’s the difference between God’s spiritual gifts and God’s talents? God gives good gifts to all people. God blesses those gifts with power for eternal significance by His Holy Spirit given to those who accept Him.

Before I gave my life to following Christ I was good at things. I was intelligent, talented, charming. Most things I did went well and I worked hard and saw results. I could carry on boasting of achievements and that’s the point. I didn’t need God. I could live a successful life without Him. Then I realized that my drive for success and fame was damaging my relationships with people and destroying friendships. I was rude, harsh and cruel to people around me. I’d use people and manipulate them so I could further myself. It was through this that God revealed my need of Him.

Now that I am a disciple I struggle to keep dependant on Him. I rely on my strength and my skill to get things done and to do them well. But I want what I do to have eternal significance to last, to effect people in a deep way and there’s no way I can do that without God. I’ve tried and I’ve failed, every time. Plays I have directed and produced, poems, articles I have written all well structured and well done but none making a lasting impact on people’s lives. It was when I started relying on God that this added dimension to stuff I did started occurring. I know how to use environments to evoke responses from audience (see Manipulating Response post) but to make an eternal impact and evoke a response on a deep level I have to leave it to God.

With this event I could create a great performance and give people a nice warm fussy feeling during it. I could get people to think about stuff and they can make some intellectual jumps but I want people to see God. To achieve this high aim is difficult if not impossible because only God can reveal Himself and only God can bless the event and only God can give it its eternal significance. I felt it was important that I didn’t use members of the college community (see Any Given Friday (part I) post) and so went to the theatre community in Durham. This could have been the wrong choice and I prayed about it a lot but God has a plan.

I’m thinking a lot about how theatre can do church but I must also remember how the church can speak into the theatre world. God uses theatre to change peoples lives; I’ve seen it happen. God uses the skills of actors, designers, writers and directors to give the Word, to embody Truth and to connect with people’s deeper recesses of the soul. But it is God who does it! There’s no way we can do it. In this piece God will bless the actors and use them and in using them reveal Himself.

God’s hand is moving in this piece, in the preparation and the friendships that are starting. I continue to pray that I will rely on Him and look forward to seeing Him reveal Himself again to all who meet next week… next week!!!!!!!