I don’t know what you will be doing once the Christmas and New Year festiveness are over. Perhaps you will be starting some new resolve or another; maybe a diet or a fitness regime? Actually when I look to the New Year that’s not what I will be thinking of. I and some others in our community will be fully immersed in another kind of madness that is known as The Pantomime Season. I won’t be treading the boards but I will be involved backstage in chaperoning the many children that will be appearing on stage; some for the first time, others with years of experience behind them.
Our local Carver Theatre has been working hard all this term to rehearse and create the set and lighting of this year’s production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and there is an enormous amount of work involved! Quite a few of the cast are part of our youth or Kids’ Church as well as some of the adults, so it’s great to be able to support them.
But it got me thinking about what it is that is different about Pantomime from any other form of theatre. There are several but the main difference I think is the audience participation. The audience are almost like a character of their own, with their own lines to say ‘He’s behind you’ or ‘Oh no it isn’t’ which are known to us all, both young and old. Some are even invited on stage at a particular point. A pantomime wouldn’t be the same without the audience participation, trust me the jokes don’t work the same in rehearsal, the audience involvement is crucial for it to work, they are part of the team. I went to a Pantomime this week and I tried for a short time just sitting and watching without joining in … it’s quite strange, everyone around you is having much more fun because they are interacting in the way it’s designed. The way to get the most from the experience is to join in.
This made me think of the Church. We are all part of the body of Christ, all part of the team and it takes all of us to be involved to function well. Faith is not a spectator sport! Our vision here at All Saints’ is for ‘All to encounter, follow and share Jesus’. To enable that to happen we each need to play an active part. What that active part looks like for each of us will of course be different. It may involve being part of a LifeGroup, we may serve in a ministry area such as
stewarding, cleaning, teas and coffee, in Kids’ Church or youth. We may be involved in praying for others in various ways or we may be committed to being a presence in our work place; there are many other examples, too many to name. So many things happen without us realising or noticing. How does Focus get folded? Who puts the bins out? Unlike the pantomime there are no magic fairies here! All these things happen by the faithful commitment of members of the church each playing their active part in working for the whole. We are called to be active participants in the life and work of the church, like the pantomime
audience, not just onlookers like the usual theatre audience. We’re designed to join in and if we don’t, as we look around us, others seem to be growing more in their faith and really living the experience of being church. As we become involved in the life of the church we grow in our faith together and become more fulfilled by living communally in the way we were designed.
Perhaps if you’re someone who likes to make New Year resolutions you might consider if God is calling you to get involved in a new way and even if you’re not into making resolutions this is still a good question to ask any time of the year. If you’re someone who is already involved you might consider who you could invite to join in with your area of ministry. That’s the great thing about the pantomime cast, they are always inviting others, the audience, to join in – who could you encourage to become more actively involved? If you’re not sure where you might like to get involved then find someone on the staff team, we will always be willing to work it out with you. And, if you do get to the pantomime this year, do be sure to join in!