Life As A Swing: How Theatre Prepped Me For Ministry In A Pandemic

In most theatrical productions--particularly large format musicals--the cast consists ofleads--those who are featured the most in a showensemble members--those who support the show tremendously, providing vocals, wonderful dancing, and often, facilitating set changesunderstudies-- those who are the next in line for lead roles should the performer call out sick or have an important engagement that forces them to miss a show. Usually, understudies are also in the ensemble, so they learn their ensemble track and the lead rolestandbys--those who understudy a very prominent role in the show that's usually the lead or a major supporting character. Many times, the standbys are not in the ensemble. They just cover that one lead track and are to be at the theatre during the entire show or within 15-30 minutes of the theatre should they need to go on at a moment's noticeAnd finally, the swings
No. No, I didn't say swingers😎 ... though, I mean, nothing's wrong with that. To each …

I am ... The glory revealed


There have been two times in my life when I've been shaken awake by a full song--a complete "original" composition that I had to race to my piano or phone to record. I've awakened to verses or refrains many times, but only twice has a full song been dropped into my spirit--start to finish. I knew that in those moments, that song wasn't mine to begin--that there was some previous carrier, some witness in the clouds, that needed me to get their song into this sphere of the universe. I knew that I was merely the vessel--that they chose me to receive their song in my slumber. This "choosing' is reminiscent of God's choosing and anointing of me, over and over again, though I fight hard against that sometimes.

I've consciously written over 100 songs. Many more are still inside of me and haven't been placed into the universe yet. I used to be scared that I'd die with all of this music in me--with all of these ideas and scripts and sermons in me. But recently, I've been at peace with the music inside of me that hasn't been birthed yet--with the songs outside of me that most of the world hasn't met yet. I'm at peace because I know that at least two times in my life, I've received a song from the ancestors. And one day, I'll be an ancestor. So, we good fam. LOL Whatever I don't get done in this lifetime, I'll get done in another. Whatever is not revealed in this lifetime will be revealed in another.

This take on revelation might upset a few apple carts or turn over a few tables. It's not comfortable to make peace with the idea that the promised revelation might not happen in your lifetime. In Romans 8:18, the author talks to a traumatized people who have endured so much, who run the risk of wavering in their faith. Paul says to the church in Rome, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed." I imagine that my enslaved ancestors held that verse with them as they prayed and cried for a freedom on earth they never received. I imagine a chronically or terminally ill person praying for a relief from suffering that didn't quite come in the way they expected. This verse is often quoted in church, preached about in sermons that are meant to encourage, and for good reason. It helps us contextualize our pain and our suffering in a way that allows us to hold on to the hope that joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5). However, if oversimplified, it doesn't leave space for the uncertainty regarding when "the morning" will arrive or how "the glory" will be revealed.

When I receive songs from the ancestors in the comfort of my home, with my keyboard steps away from me--a life only made possible by my freedom--, I know that I am a recipient of the revelation they toiled land for, a revelation they picked cotton for, a revelation they dreamed and prayed about in the shadows of the clearing. Not only is the music a revelation, but my life is a revelation--that I am the glory revealed. That I am the vessel that carries the revelation forward is so amazingly comforting. It means that I don't have to worry about getting everything on my life's to-do list done before I die. It means there will be vessels that come after me to carry on the glorious revelations that can't be compared to my present sufferings. It means I must have patience with the revelation--with the coming of the morning.

When I'm shaken awake in the midnight hour, I'm grateful that I could carry the revelation forward. That I am alive to carry it forward is a revelation in itself. I wake every morning and remind myself that I am...the glory revealed.

Comments

Pop Posts

Why I Quit Church...

Finding Love after Sexual Assault

I'm A Quitter...So What!?