32 Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
Content warning: suicide.
I mentioned on Sunday that my husband took me to go see “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Philadelphia this past weekend. It’s one of my favorite shows, and as expected, I was on the verge of tears from start to finish. I’ve seen this show many times and have experienced many interpretive lenses for this Andrew Lloyd Weber operetta. As a former theatre nerd, I’m always excited to see how different directors bring new life to shows in ways I had never seen before. This production was no different.
Right at the beginning, there was one ensemble dancer who was always doing something different from everyone else. I quickly realized that she was representing the spiritual forces of evil in the world, she was the adversary, the devil, and she would move and orchestrate evil flowing through people. It was powerful, but incredibly so leading up to Judas’s suicide scene. It’s always a painful scene to watch and is based off of Matthew 27:5. In this scene, Judas’s guilt begins to overpower him. He questions if God could possibly love and care for him despite what he has done. As Judas, completely falling apart wails in pain at the edges of his voice, that dancer moved around him. She glided and swirled around him, molding his words away from the possibility that God could forgive him, and closer to thoughts that he isn’t worth forgiving. Watching her made this difficult scene even harder to watch.
I wanted to yell out to Judas, “GOD LOVES YOU!” I wanted to hold him together when he was falling apart. I felt so much compassion for him. He made a mistake, he truly felt remorse, and no one was there to tell him that God loved him, that God forgave him, and that he too is God’s beloved child. It reminds me of the importance of being there. It is important to be kind, to be compassionate, to forgive as God forgives.
The world needs it.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Take a breath with me this morning. I know our days are busy, but stop for just a moment and breath in and out. Think of God’s Spirit of goodness moving into your lungs and enlivening your body.
You are loved. You are forgiven. You are worthy of kindness and compassion.
Tell yourself that today, and be sure to tell your neighbor, too.
Prayer: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord. You forgive before we can even give it thought. May we follow in your footsteps. Amen.