Saturday, March 30, 2013

What Godspell taught me about Jesus

Whenever I see a movie or in this case, a play, I think about it for a few days, that is, if it is any good.

We saw Godspell last night at a small venue in Putnam, CT called Complex Performing Arts Center.  The worship leaders at our church, Living Hope Christian Church, acted in and directed the play.  I am humbled to say, I have been brought near to tears just thinking about the play today.   

The content itself was very familiar to me, the Gospel of Matthew.  I knew the stories and the major plot, of course. There were characters in the play who were regular people/Jesus’ disciples, and even at times acting as Christ’s persecutors, betrayers and killers.  Jesus, of course, was the main character.  

Godspell really showed me Jesus’ humanity and friendship.  He is every believer’s close and intimate friend.   

As the play went on, the same people were following Jesus consistently.  He told His parables and they acted them out.  He was very kind, loving, and understanding to all, no matter what their behavior.  He was welcoming to sinners and kindly corrective.  He was accusatory towards the religious elite. There was also plenty of humor. 

The level of intimacy between Him and these disciples/followers increased throughout the play. I felt uncomfortable on occasion with the intimacy of some of the women with Jesus.  I realized this was my own fleshly mind getting in the way.  This was Jesus!  Jesus’ relationships were all pure, although He was a man, he was also God.  Jesus really did let a prostitute touch him.  Jesus probably would have sang songs with Martha or Mary or other women as well.  He did touch people often, and they touched him.  Jesus was more than their friend.  They followed Him; they worshiped Him; there was nothing inappropriate about it.  He was God in the flesh. In the play when Jesus was crucified, the people were weeping at the foot of the cross but they were literally on his legs, touching him.  I wonder now if the people at the foot of the cross were actually, in fact, touching Jesus’ feet.   

I realized that up to this point, I have had a very cordial, distant way of thinking about Jesus.  As I started thinking through the play, I found myself teary-eyed thinking about Jesus as my close friend.  I have been thinking about Him and what it would be like to “hang out” with Him.  How I would I have felt if He were killed before my very eyes, especially after witnessing His perfect goodness and innocence? What will it be like to be with Him in Heaven?

Normally, I would have major issues with a play that leaves Jesus dead, but since we saw it on Good Friday, I was perfectly fine with it.  I realize now, if He had risen in the play, I probably would have continued along with my cold/cordial thoughts of Jesus as a risen unapproachable radiant being, instead of on His life, His humanity and His relationships with His followers.....and with me. 

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - John 15:13

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