Under God’s Spell

I love God.

He works in such marvelous ways — when we need it most. In my case, it was GODSPELL at the Black Hills Playhouse over the weekend.

It had been a rough week and I was discouraged. I kept saying to myself, “Anything, I said, ‘anything,’ and this is God’s idea of ‘anything,'” but my heart wasn’t in it.

Despite Scriptural evidence and historical anecdotes, my human nature expected — when my heart opened at a retreat last fall and I surrendered completely to God’s will, murmuring over and over ‘Anything, Lord, anything’ — to find the tatters of my life healed and blessings poured into the new skin of a life dedicated entirely to God. Ha! I remained unemployed for another five months and now find myself working at a convenience store.

Granted, that synopsis doesn’t reflect the awesome experience of spending weeks with my granddaughters, which was only possible because I was unemployed, or the way in which hours of prayer during my period of unemployment transformed something within me in ways I’m still  discovering. Still, I’ve worked hard most of my life and lived with poverty during much of it. I was hoping ‘anything’ would encompass a different type of experience, not more of the same in which I would need to say to myself over and over ‘thy will be done, thy will be done’ in order to serve the people who enter the store as though each were Christ present to me in that moment.

Last week I was challenged with both sleep deprivation and staff issues. I wanted nothing more when I finally had a day off than to curl up and sleep — forever. However, remembering how inspired I’d been last  year by the Black Hills Playhouse’s production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, and recalling how much I love the music from GODSPELL, I decided a little theater might be good for my soul.

It was! Three days later, I am still on a theater high. The set was stunning. Enhanced by the lighting. And the musicians were incredible.

But for me, personally, GODSPELL  brought the gospel to life at a time when I desperately needed it — and in a memorable way. I sit here now, listening to the soundtrack — the Broadway cast, unfortunately, rather than the Black Hills Playhouse cast — and images from the production rise up before my eyes.

All those incredibly talented young people! What a testimony of God’s goodness! He is first and foremost a Creator, and in those who have been given creative gifts, he is present in a powerful way. When we turn our backs on those gifts, as I have in recent years, something goes out of us as well as out of our lives.

To be close to God, we need to live authentically. We need to live as though we were created in the image of God. We need to express in this world the gifts of himself he has placed in us — and recognize them in others.

Because God is infinite, the variety of gifts we will see in one another will be infinite. They will be seen in those who produce our food, heal our sick, build our homes, work for peace and justice, care for the environment, and help us navigate our daily lives with the work they do. The whole, each person’s gifts appreciated by others, is what makes us a community, what reminds us that we are a people of God.

The lyrics of one song in GODSPELL, “All Good Gifts,” brought this home to me during Saturday night’s performance. Yes, I’d had a bad week. No, my life wasn’t what I would hope. But those really are minor in the grand scheme of things.

In the grand scheme of things, “All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above. Thank  the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love.”

And he does love us immeasurably.

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