“You will be for me a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” ~Exodus 19:6
Our behavior, not just the “belief system” we adhere to, is the most visible means by which we distinguish ourselves from those who have not been raised with Christ and united with him in his death, burial, and resurrection. We should never forget that what is required of us, because we are saved by grace, is a high moral standard of thought and action that for those outside the Kingdom of God is incomprehensible.
Our obedience to God reflects the fact that our citizenship is in heaven. It shows others that he is training us to transcend the present world even though we still occupy its space. It is what is expected of us, because God is forming us into creatures that this world can’t fully grasp.
We demonstrate by our words and actions, in no uncertain terms, that we are of a different pedigree, a holy race. It is, to the rest of the world, the clearest proof of the existence of God—not a logical exegetical argument, not forceful rhetoric, but pure, humble, godly lives lived in the shadow of the cross and in the brilliant glow of the resurrection.
Peter quotes Exodus 19:6 and follows it up with these words, “Live such good lives among the pagans that…they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
We’re not called to be God’s people so we can belong to him privately or exclusively. He has a grand goal in mind when he creates us to be his kings and priests. He calls us to live public lives of sacrifice and service to others in his name. And when we do, we show the world that the Gospel works. It’s not just words or a great idea. It changes us from the inside out and makes us into creatures whose behavior is beyond explanation.
Legacy VBS 2008 is over. And those of us in the musical get our evenings back for the first time in a little over a month. My greatest fear going into last night’s final scenes would be that, after accidentally breaking or tearing or ripping something in the previous three nights, I wouldn’t be able to break the styrofoam Ten Commandments or the styrofoam golden calf when I was supposed to. But it all came off beautifully. And the kids were all very impressed by the fury of Moses’ righteous indignation.
Can I get theological with the musical?
I can’t help but see our God at work here.
Somehow we were able to take 75 different cast members and set designers and technical operators with 75 different skills and abilities and dreams and visions and come together under one mission. Somehow we were able to unite behind one purpose. Together we fought through missed lines and muted mics and unlearned lyrics (my bad, sorry!) and sporadic rehearsal attendance. Together we smoothed out the rough edges. Together we sacrificed and served and built up and encouraged. We helped each other change costumes and sets and switch out microphones. We worked with each other on scripts and blocking and music.
The people with beautiful voices sang like angels. The funny people made everybody laugh. The focused people kept us on track. The creative people designed a parting of the seas and built a huge mountain. The technical people kept the whole thing lit up and loud. The nurturing people kept us all edified.
And we didn’t kill each other.
I was there every night for over a month and I can’t recall ever hearing one cross word. Not one. Yes, there were moments of exasperation and exhaustion and frustration. But not once did I hear one person say one bad thing about another person. Not once did anybody raise a voice toward anybody else. Not one accusatory finger was wagged. Not one motive was judged. Not one person was ridiculed or rebuked.
It doesn’t seem possible. You couldn’t have gathered a more diverse group than our 75—widely and wildly different ages, backgrounds, experience, personalities, expectations, talents, and tempers. How did it come together so smoothly?
Do I really need to explain?
One purpose. We were way too focused on the mission to gripe or complain or grumble or worry about ourselves. Way too busy. Way too under the gun with the urgency of the task, way too determined to accomplish the purpose. There was a job to do, a big-picture job to do, and we had to do it. And that meant working together as a team, putting the show ahead of the individual personalities or scenes or numbers.
To me, theologically speaking, the musical represents the beauty of God’s Church. People from all walks and all personalities united as one people by the blood of Christ Jesus; working as a team, as one Body, helping each other, encouraging each other, sacrificing for each other, serving each other, to work toward the common purpose.
Kipi, thank you for your hard work and patience. Thank you for your commitment to the children and the families of Legacy and North Tarrant County. And everybody on the cast and crew of Moses: Bound for Holy Ground, thank you for showing everybody in unmistakable ways what it looks like to be the people of God.
Jesse and/or Mason have posted tons of pictures—350, I think—of their recent mission trip to Honduras. Click here to check ’em out.
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