Godspell Revisited

March 29, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

godspellIn the Spring of 1982, I was a junior in high school and part of the school’s production of Godspell. I played the part of John the Baptist/Judas (interesting combination). Basically that meant I got to sing a couple of solos (including the beginning of the entire play singing “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” from the back of the audience… A painful beginning to an otherwise good production).

Godspell is a modern telling of many Biblical parables– complete with a “Jesus” character and including the crucifixion. It is a musical with a lot of good music (at least in my opinion).

Friday night I got to see the production put on by Cox High School. It was the first time I had seen the show since I was in it– and it was quite an experience. It was cool to go to the show with my kids– greata 15, Emma 13, and Hayden 10. They wanted to see it and I wanted to go (Sara, my wife, was out of town). I figured that it would be good to support the high school and a nice start to the Easter season.

It turned out to be a lot more…

I thought the students did and excellent job. They had a gifted ensemble who could act and sing with equal aplomb (just wanted to use that word). I was very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed it all. What I didn’t expect was the emotional reaction I experienced. I was very moved by their performance– and I tried to put my finger on the cause.

First of all– it was awesome to see kids using their gifts. That’s just plain cool– whether its in the classroom, on the atletic fields, or from the stage. The entire cast was totally committed to what they were doing and “went all out” the whole time. That’s always fun to see.

Second, it was amazing to have a public high school preaching the gospel in a public arena. I do not know if the kids knew what they were doing, by the Word of God was going out.

Finally, something hit me on a personal level. Seeing the performance obviously took me back to my junior year in high school. It reminded me of my relationship with God back then. My experience with Godspell was a good one– both artistically and spiritually.

See, I was raised going to church. I beleived in God, Jesus and the Bible. I even considered myself a “Christian” because of this. So performing a play based on the parables and life of Jesus was actually pretty cool. But last Friday I realized that in 1982 I just knew about Jesus… I didn’t know Jesus. There’s a big difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing him.

I guess I realized how far God had brought me in the last 28 years– and how gratful I am that he has revealed himself to me, gently and faithfully drawing myself to him. How he sought me– simply because he loves me. And the more I beleive and receive that love– the more I love him and those around me.

That may sound trite and cliche… But it’s the truth. Therefore, Godspell had changed dramatically since I performed it all those years ago. The music and the words were the same, but the subject was something entirely new… It had moved from a play about Jesus to a play about my friend. My friend I have walked closely with through good and bad times. My friend who will never leave me or forsake me. My friend who always has my best interests at heart (even when I don’t realize it or beleive it). My friend who is generous and patient and playful. My friend whom I love… because I know that he loves me.

It was good show… becuase he is an incredible friend!