Both/And NOT Either/Or

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When I began high school, there was a lot to which I needed to adjust. So much was different. Activities, academic pursuits, social life, etc. I was a like a fish out of water most of the time.

One of my teachers persuaded me to join the drama club, because she thought I might be talented enough to do something interesting. The play for which we were trying out, was a parody or a comedy of some sort, and having read the script, I knew the part for which I hoped to try out. And conversely, which part I definitely didn’t want to play. This comedy had one key character that was to have many parts, but never appeared on the stage. It called for a deep voice that projected well. It was to be the “voice of God”.

I felt pretty strongly that I didn’t want that one. Almost seemed sacrilegious to me. And I was pretty sure my parents wouldn’t approve too much my pretending to be God. So, I chose the part of the antagonist. Not a good person in the play, but something I felt I could pull off.

The director (our teacher) pulled me aside after the first meeting with the other students, and said to me, I want you to be “the voice”. “Oh no, I can’t do that…that wouldn’t be right,” I said. She said I would be fine, and that the part requires just the right voice. She pointed out that I projected well, and that I could pull off a rather deep sounding voice with no trouble at all. Then, I remember being worried that she felt I wasn’t presentable enough to appear on stage, but she became a bit impatient with me. “Look, I need your voice to be “the voice.” You’re the only one I believe that can do it.” And so, it was, that I was cast for a totally different part than the one that I had envisioned for myself.

The parable of the prodigal son is truly one of the most beloved parables of Jesus, and one for which we all seem to be able to cast ourselves as one or other of the characters in the story. How would you “cast” yourself in this story? Who would you be? The philandering younger son, who was disrespectful of home and family, or the long-suffering older son, who felt entitled and embittered? I hope you’ll join us for worship, as we explore how we would cast ourselves, and the likelihood that Jesus probably wanted us to see that we are both/and, not either/or.