Shakespeare's words about life being a stage have been reverberating in my mind lately. As with any actor or actress there's something about the role played that draws (something more hopefully than whatever monetary reward there may be) Something draws the performer to that role or something in the mind and imagination of the ones responsible for casting decisions suggests a match between the role and the gifts that an actor or actress brings. Whatever they bring to their roles, they clearly distinguish between who they are on-screen or onstage and their identities backstage or off-screen. Somehow in the various productions they are only skimming the surface of who they really are or even of their potentialities as actors. It is intriguing to think that our real identities as believers too have hardly been scratched yet. These 'roles' we play at church, at home at work do have a connection to our real identities but perhaps only as possessing qualities that we are drawn toward as actors consider and study roles that strike chords within them, and can indeed affect and change the way their lives are lived backstage or offstage. But the actor is subject to certain artificial limitations of space and time onstage that don't exist backstage,( and, sometimes, subject even to a kind of limitation backstage that doesn't exist onstage.) A great Shakespearean actor once heard the evangelist George Whitefield preach and came away saying, "If only I could exclaim the word "oh!" like Whitefield does...." He connected with the passion of Whitefield (the passion for his very own actor's soul) and longed to demonstrate so intense a passion in his acting. Hopefully witnessing that intensity and passion drew him right into the kingdom. There was something of the actor in Whitefield, a God-given ability that he could employ in evangelism for the glory of God that impacted another actor among actors, who sensed around him and within himself the greatness of the identity he had yet to assume.
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