Dear St. Lukers,
If you haven’t walked into Founder’s Hall this week, you might want to find a reason just to peek in…because you might not recognize it! You would think we’d all be used to these transformations, but each time I am more amazed at the worlds our Scenic Team and Theatre at St. Luke’s creates within our walls.
And this world is one that, while it doesn’t look like Founder’s Hall – it looks awfully familiar. We see a motel, an I-4 overpass, billboards, theme parks, fireworks. And within it, a story that was written over 200 years ago, but somehow drops right into our own backyard almost too perfectly.
Almost too perfectly, because it shows children in poverty, children who are homeless, children who are neglected and abused. The Victorian reality, and unfortunately, our reality as well. It is why we’ve chosen to share this year’s summer musical, Oliver!, the classic Dickens story of a child who is the victim of systems of poverty and oppression in his time, through a modern lens, to highlight the Oliver Twists all around us here in modern-day Central Florida.
I hope you already have your tickets – if not, you can get them by clicking here – so you can support our cast, and go deeper with our vision of Restoring Hope, ending childhood hunger and homelessness in Central Florida, on stage and off. Trust me, this isn’t your grandparents’ production of Oliver! It will challenge you, leave you thinking, and maybe make you a little more than uncomfortable with the same clarion call Dickens gave to his readers in the 1800’s: What will you do now that you know?
Which is exactly what the gospel writer of John was trying to help readers of the first church understand. Here is God incarnate among us in Jesus. Love was born with skin on and moved into the neighborhood. This love shown light into the darkest places in the world – and once you have seen the light, been touched by the love, encountered God incarnate – what will you do now? This is the vision and question Jesus is asking, and that we are sharing this month in worship as well with our series “Where is Love?” based on the Gospel of John’s call for us to answer – that WE are to be the love in the world, following a God who came to be love to us.
You won’t want to miss worship on Sunday, where we’ll have another incredible guest preacher, The Rev. Mary Lee Downey, CEO of Hope Partnership (you may want to check out the podcast episode we did with her to kick off our current series – click here to listen!), as she explores the “bread stories” in the Gospel of John. We’ll see how the feeding of multitudes and the bread of life have something to tell us about how we are called to incarnational work here and now, for our own neighbors and community.