We experienced Riding Lights Theatre Company last night which I have wanted to do for some twenty years. The company is called 'riding' lights because it is based in The Ridings (Yorkshire UK) and 'lights' because they are professionally trained Christian actors e.g. 'sons of light'.
This production featured four young actors dressed as globe-trotting youth, staging scenes about Jesus while reading a travel book. Due to this being 'live' theatre, strong impressions I will carry with me always are:
- a discussion in The Temple where the Boy Jesus points out to a worldly-wise Sadducee (who does not believe in resurrection) that Elijah brought back to life the widow's dead son. In fact, Jesus taught that the Scriptural proof of resurrection is that God treats the redeemed, alive or dead, as if they are all currently living e.g. never using the past tense about the redeemed.
- a coarse, Roman soldier in dark sunglasses, brutally bullying a Hebrew boy and woman which is the behaviour of 'top dogs', and what Zealot freedom fighters, not unlike modern freedom fighting 'rebels', were ready to die or murder to strike back against. But this was a level of hatred and violence which Jesus denied his followers: his revolution was based on love and conversion, not on prohibited murder and violent overthrow.
- a scene between Caiaphas and his imagined friend Barrabas in which the former explains to the latter that they are both secret murderers, but the Sadducees "cloak" their knife better. Also Barrabas telling Caiaphas that Judas Iscariot had been his friend but had defected to Jesus.
- Jesus, dark skinned, prophetic, telling his disciples that in life we all have a stark choice, choosing either the road of hate, or the road of love. If we take the road of love, we must meet all hate with love, but still expect to be surrounded with hate attempting to extinguish love.
- Jesus controlling unattractive triumphalism in his disciples at finding they can heal, through washing their feet and telling them that following him is about service, not power.
- His human agony in Gethsemane at realising that a substitute 'ram' will not be given to replace him on the Cross
- Jesus crucified precariously bound, on his right side, on a very uncomfortable, blood-stained altar, juddering to death, as a medical commentary on what was happening to his body was read out. Basically, Crucifixion hinges on not being able to breathe plus terrible pain.
I can strongly recommend this production and the impact of the commitment, both spiritual and professional, of these young actors. This production, touring England is called "The Narrow Road". There are videos of "Riding Lights" on "You Tube" which I can also commend. They also have a website.