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This past weekend I released kites. The kites are people; people holding kites. People who will carry The Gospel Story through Theater Art to hundreds, thousands, over the next few months with their kites in hand. The soundtrack rumbles beneath them, the voice overs anchor their story down, their bodies on stage breath with fiery passion that they uncovered in a holy experience we call “Jesus Theater Rehearsals.” Testimony Art has been born again. Salvation calls will be made to thousands. Thousands will come Home.
For the last six months, I have carried this piece inside my own heart – sculpting, nurturing, and teaching it. The end production is a fluid result of glorious and tedious creative work, hammered out both in solitude and collaborate spaces. As the writer, the experience is a creative birthing. As with previous years, this piece went from seed to embryo, newborn to infant, and now finds its feet inside of grown adults who adopt it as their own. I love the creative process; deeply challenging, deeply personal.
The imagery used in this piece wears the marks of my own story, my own need, my own wrestling and pressing forward for redemption. Every year as I write the Jesus Theater, I am faced again with the power of the simple Gospel. As a result, I change. Any meditation on Jesus Christ breeds transformation. I am grateful for this project that presses me annually into a meditation on the heart of our faith. This year in particular, the writing process held me like a walking stick through fiercely challenging winter months - darkness, depression, loss – and a kite fighting to be free.
The kite dares to take flight.
It is trapped by a trash bag.
It becomes enslaved.
Self-liberating efforts produce more pain.
Suffering awakens; hard, long, thorough.
There an empty tomb.
The story is not over.
The kite is offered the sky again.
There is a choice.
Jesus, or not.
And is that not all of our choice, every day? Jesus, or not.
This latest cast was the third that I worked with on this piece over the last few months. Each workshop represented a different region in the nation. Each group hosted a team of directors who will teach the piece in their own setting. Each person had their own story, and courageously entered into this one with fierce authenticity. We met God. Every time. We shared communion. Every time. Art communion. Jesus Theater.
… And every time I grieved when we finished, this time the most. Giving away what I love is a trigger of love and loss for me, all too familiar in my own narrative. Full to empty, again. I fell in love with each group of people, their wet eyes daring to face themselves in the mirror of the Gospel. Their screams, authentic. Their dance, invigorating. Their vulnerability, striking. Their spirits, ignited. I got to spend days at a time with brilliant artists, watching them catch a fire inside and take up a new torch as an artistic minister. The days afterwards, I always miss them. The art itself shared half the year with me, became a companion, holds secrets of my story, validates my pain and beauty, loves me without words, trumpets that my redemption will come. The liberated kites extend hope to me, over and over again.
It’s hard to let the piece go. But I did. Because I must. Broken bread. Outpoured wine. Break it, and give it away. Therein, multiplication. The Wind should get to determine how far these kites go, not me. I cut the strings and let the last group take flight a few short days ago. The curtain closes on a six month project.
Presenting, Jesus Theater – Kites.
No longer mine.
As for me, perhaps my own kite of a life will find the sky again. You and I both, we could get up and try again. After all, kites are made for the sky. “The breath of the King became the wind in their sails and they flew!”
It's time to take flight!
p.s. I am calling Ministers who are Artists to remember the power and importance of your call. Please, help the evangelical world learn to preach through more than monologues.
I am on the trail again. Chief among the wonders I found here is a woman parked at the same picnic table every morning. The table is pressed to the water’s edge with two trees towering on either side it. The trees hold the promise of autumn; leaking color into their tips before the great fall begins. This woman sits, every day, at the water’s edge. Her hair is short and styled loosely, her clothing comfortable, her gaze consumed. Ink pressed to paper, her focus hangs low on the page beneath her eyes. She writes.
A few days ago, her corner of the park was populated with noise. A club of Moms, strollers, and infants gathered around an enthusiastic stout coach. They hung their bodies upside down on purpose, and fluttered around their screaming children. Ink pressed to paper, the woman’s focus hung low on the page beneath her eyes. She continued to write.
Yesterday, it was scorching hot. The sun beat down and told every living thing to find shade or go indoors. I passed the woman’s table on the trail and found her there with a sun hut on her head. It’s long yellow wings hung down around her determined face. Ink pressed to paper, her focus hung low on the page beneath her eyes. She sweat, and she continued to write.
Today it is raining. She has a bright red umbrella tied to the table. It is secured and “hands free.” Raindrops collapse around her, but her square foot of the world stays dry. The leafs overhead dump pools of water; she seems to be writing faster. Ink pressed to paper, her focus hangs low on the page beneath her eyes. She continues to write.
On the banks of a river trail, I found a writer. I don’t know what she writes, but it is not what she writes that makes her a writer, but rather her dedication to the art form. She does not have to look up to teach me. The power of her focus radiates from the back of her head.
Dedication to anything looks like something. It looks like sticking yourself like glue to that thing and doing it, every single day. Dedication is the vacuum that pulls our passions out of mid air and into a committed existence with us. What wild thing in your heart is waiting for dedication? What if you dedicated some time to it, starting today?
Ink pressed to paper, my focus hands low on the page beneath my eyes. I write.
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.