Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drama in the rain - Chris Whitler

In May of 1991 I was in Romania.  This was my second trip to the freshly democratic country that had undergone violent revolution just two years prior.  Missionaries were sounding the call.  The time was right for the gospel in this hurting nation.  People were hungry for hope.

I was there with a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) team of 20 or so in response to that call.  We were serving full time missionaries and churches by doing what we could to gather people together and communicate the story of Jesus to them.  It was the early 90’s, it was YWAM and that means drama.

Not drama as it has come to be referenced these days with indignant bobbing heads and snapping fingers and a “I can’t believe she comes in here and creates all that drama!”  I’m talking about mime make-up, costumes, a translated sound track and some amateur thespians acting out the great story to the best of our ability.  We were performing a play called ‘Toymaker & Son’, an allegory with dance, physical theater and colorful costumes that was part Nutcracker, part Cats and part Shields and Yarnell.

As people gathered into the soccer arena for the “spectacol” so did the storm clouds overhead.  We had set up the sound equipment and the props.  We had marked the dirt square as our stage area.  And now we were afraid of those dark, heavy clouds.  So, we started to sing.  We didn’t want rain to drive people away and postpone their chance to see this story.  We sang, we prayed, we asked God to move the storm along.  People still gathered.

As we fervently beseeched like we had never beseeched before for that storm to pass, a beam penetrated those clouds and the heart of the storm was shot through with light like the birth of a Thomas Kinkade painting.  It happened suddenly and we all exclaimed excited praise and thanks.  The show would go on!  God is good!

Infused with faith and adrenaline, we took our places.  I sat in the dirt, awaiting my cue.  The music began.  On that introductory trumpeted note, the rain began to fall - a sprinkle, some drops and then a full on shower.  The dirt became mud.  We all started laughing.

We carried on.  We slipped through creation.  We splashed through man’s rejection of God.  We slid through Christ reaching out to his broken creation.  We sloshed through the crucifixion.  We splattered through the resurrection and the ultimate defeat of evil.

At the end, a local pastor invited people to the hope that Christ offers and many responded, coming forward to pray.

As it turns out, storm clouds break apart and storm clouds gather.  God is still good.  Sometimes rain is an invitation to have a little more fun.