This afternoon I attended Scrooge the Musical, performed by the people of Portland Open Bible Church. My church; my people. I delighted in their beautiful singing, the hilarious moments, and the poignant dramatic interludes. I remembered why I returned to this faith community after a prolonged absence following my resignation a year ago last October.
As the actors portrayed their roles wonderfully on the stage, I thought about the personal relationships I enjoy with so many of them. The laughter we have shared. The tears. The worship and prayers together. The mutually challenging conversations. The respect and love. I remembered, feeling encouraged by that rich history even as they brought to life their distinct characters.
Yet, I also recognized that there are many individuals in the cast whom I do not know. Where do they come from? What are their stories? I hope to learn more in the coming days.
Scrooge had a series of epiphanies thanks to the visiting angels late Christmas Eve. It changed his attitude and the course of his life. It taught him the value of love and friendship. It birthed in him a generosity of kindness, giving, and charity. It caused him to trust Jesus Christ.
There is no greater poverty than to isolate one’s heart from others, except to abuse them with the wicked machinations conceived in the dark places of the soul. Scrooge learned this late in life, but not too late.
For my part, I desire a life of generosity, giving of myself and my resources where the needs are greatest and where God leads me in the margins of the culture.
Selfishness is easily justified through all manner of rationale. It soothes our conscience through self-justification and intentional ignorance of authentic needs. But, it is brought up short by reality. Scrooge encountered such a moment when he learned of Tiny Tim, and the struggles of Bob and Sarah Cratchett in providing for their family. Such poverty, yet such joy in their family. Such wealth, yet such misery in Scrooge’s life.
As the Advent season continues, I ask myself how I might give all that I am so that Christ Jesus will be glorified. It is no small or flippant matter to consider. Lives hang in the balance, including my own. For while I have intentionally walked away from any thought of professional ministry, I cry out to God to make me a vessel which honors him in the dark places of the world, where professionals deem it strategically unsatisfactory to tread.