Today I am taking time to prepare for directing The Mark Drama in Ballycullen Community Church the week before Easter. The six week preparation period before our 12 hours of reherasals begins today! I am renewed once again in my love for Jesus. I am so enjoying meeting with who he is in the words of Mark’s Gospel.
I have the benefit of knowing how it comes together in dramatic form through the actions, personality and energy of all the different individuals playing the parts. This enriches my reading of the Gospel with vivid images and sounds from past Mark Drama performances. The pages of Mark’s Gospel in my bible are now filled not only with the lives of Jesus, Peter, the leper, Peter’s mother-in-law, the Pharisees... but with the myriad of people who have walked in these shoes and brought these people alive again and again through speaking their words and acting their feelings.
Nathan, Honor, David, Hazel, Alastair, Catherine, Gavin, Bill...
I can remember so many different faces.
I remember the way they acted the characters, bringing to each their quirks and their insecurities. I can remember the things we laughed about and how we challenged each other and the way we grew through the process of acting this narrative.
It is so rich to be doing this. I am reminded once more that Community Theatre is so at home in the shoes of the Gospel.
As I read the first few chapters of Mark’s account of the adult life of Jesus, I am struck by how real Jesus is. I am loving how he speaks with grace and strength, normality and fluidity. I am struck by how little he thought of what others thought of him. I am enjoying how he focuses on people where they are and who they are, how he speaks directly to them in plain, earthy, connected language.
Wineskins, cloth, corn, bridegroom, doctor.
Hungry, lonely, crowded, eating, walking.
This is a man who was with real people, in real time and real space. I am feeling connected to this man, to this Son of God who connected himself to real people in honesty and love. He is without pride or dominance and yet with an astounding determination and quiet perseverance that utterly shocks those around him into questioning this new type of authority.
An authority that doesn’t command but offers following. Jesus invites and invokes people to follow him. And then sometimes he doesn’t.
Jesus knows people’s needs more than they know their own.
No; go home, stay in this place, don’t tell people who I am or what I have done for you...
A quiet determination allotted only to someone who truly knows who they are. He does not need anyone to affirm him, to permit him, to follow him. This authority is exquisite. This authority is upsetting for those around him who thought they had authority. It still is. It is upsetting for those of us who think we have authority; to decide who Jesus is, to decide who we are... when maybe he offers us to follow; to come and see who he really is and who we really are.
I am following. And it is exquisite.