“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;”
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
Ironically, this speech isn’t about theatre at all. It’s about life, the stages we go through on the road from child to adult to death. Yet there is incredible truth in these immortal words, no matter how you look at them.
Social media has changed the landscape of how we interact with one another. I don’t need a bunch of statistics to tell you that Average Joe from Smalltown, Middle of Nowhere has greater global reach today than Marco Polo did when he was exploring the unknown East.
Our lives are out there on the world stage. (Did you know authors are expected to build a following before they publish their books?!) What we post, how we respond to blogs or memes, what we choose to pin, or to tweet or retweet…it’s all a part of our personal brand. A “like” is akin to an endorsement and social media silence is worse than a chorus of crickets.
As Shakespeare so eloquently pointed out, theatre is an excellent metaphor for life and, I think, for faith.
Theatre and Faith
Theater is collaborative. It takes a whole host of people, each doing their unique job, unified and coordinated under the Director’s vision, to bring the play to life. We all have different roles to play. Sometimes they are out front, in the spotlight. Sometimes they are backstage where nobody can see them.
For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness. – Romans 12:3-8
The Bible is our script, not because it tells us what to do, but because it tells the story of who God is and what his plan is for humanity. An actor or technician who knows the script knows how his (or her) part fits into the whole and performs it with excellence, serving the greater story.
Theater is never a solo activity. We've already mentioned it is a collaborative art, but even a one man show requires an audience. Whether we like it or not, whether we maintain an online presence or not, our lives are on display, a testimony to who we worship and what we believe.
Yes, all the world is a stage.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16, ESV
So let’s put on a great show!