Dear St. Lukers,
I just wrote the welcome note for our “Driving Miss Daisy” program. Here’s a portion of what I shared:
St. Luke’s core values, out of which all our ministry is developed, state that at our center is the love of Jesus Christ and through that love we value Christ-centered Acceptance, Hospitality and Community. We are striving to be a congregation that continually seeks new ways to live into those values, and wrestle with the behaviors and attitudes which become obstacles to building such a beloved community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” “Driving Miss Daisy” deals with the work of learning to live together. Reconciliation and relationship conquer issues of race, class, religion and even ageism as we watch an unlikely, lifelong friendship grow. Through grace and conversation, Miss Daisy and Hoke, show us how to look past difference and not only learn to live together, but understand how much we need one another.
I am often asked by other clergy and leaders what led us to create the theater ministry. The first answer is evangelism. We live in a mecca of entertainment talent and knowledge – it’s the culture we uniquely find ourselves called to reach, and how this body of Christ has been uniquely gifted by God. Jim Harnish recognized this when he began the church and hired a visionary artist like Bryan Fitzgerald to be the first music director. Theater and the arts have always been in our DNA. What you may not know is how intentional we are about evangelism as we choose shows, assemble a cast and then teach the show. We spend time each show with the cast, helping connect the story of the show with our values, Scripture, characters of the Bible, and what it means to be the church. We spend time in devotion and prayer most nights of rehearsal. We remind all St. Lukers who volunteer that our work is not just for the show, but for building relationship and hospitable community with those who are new in the cast and crew. We help get new people connected to other ministries of worship, arts, youth and discipleship. Theater ministry is what our Florida conference would call a fresh expression. Looking at the gifts of the body of Christ, and the culture around the church, to connect and reach people not involved in a church community with a tangible expression of the gospel through the truth of God’s love and relationship.
But theater serves another purpose, one similar to music. It teaches and reveals truths about humanity, relationships, and the gospel of Christ. I believe one of the most interesting aspects of theater (whether in a play, musical or even drama in worship) is how the moment allows us to experience life and the world through someone else’s story. Experiencing common struggles through someone else’s eyes is both safe, because it puts down our defenses, and challenging, as it enlightens the life we live and the daily life we encounter.
This Sunday, our IMPACTOR from Scripture is Nathan. Nathan is a truth teller, the prophet who comes to King David in 2 Samuel 12, and through a story of someone else, reveals the truth of David’s brokenness. Nathan’s tale creates a bridge to hold a mirror in front of David and help him return to God. Join us for a full weekend of truth telling in creative ways. Tickets are available for “Driving Miss Daisy” at www.st.lukes.org/drivingmissdaisy (there will be talk back sessions after each Saturday show with myself and the cast) and then join us Sunday for worship as we continue to ask “who will your life impact.”
Grace and peace,