What does creation care have to do with theatre? As I reflect on my love of God’s creation and the daily acknowledgement I give it through my own awareness of water usage, recycling, composting and reflection on His beauty, I begin to wander in my imagination, attempting to relate creation to theatre.
To be honest, I have never performed in a play specifically about creation care. My thought connection, however, leads me to the topic of the lordship of Christ over the total man. Francis Schaeffer in Art and the Bible writes, “We have misunderstood the concept of the lordship of Christ over the whole of man [sic]and the whole of the universe and have not taken to us the riches that the Bible gives us for ourselves, for our lives and for our culture.” God created male and female in the image of God, and as Schaeffer writes, “True spirituality means the lordship of Christ over the total man [sic].” This leads us to His lordship over creation.
God has put us on the earth at this particular time and in these particular crises. It’s inconvenient to think twice about where our “stuff” ends up, and it takes a prodding in my heart to stop and notice the flowers around me. In recent conversations with new friends, I have also realized that along with creation care, the arts are often left off of our list of priorities. We tell ourselves that God has called certain people to them, leaving the rest of us to go on with our lives. We take for granted the air, water, and resources that we have, forgetting that we are responsible for what we do with them. We also take for granted the place of the arts in our lives, forgetting that they can be the most powerful tools for leading people to redemption through story-telling. Without the performing arts, much of our knowledge of the human connection to the environment would remain scientific and disconnected from our personal stories.
Two questions I have for myself as I reach for these connections:
Why have I not included the importance of creation care in my work as a theatre artist? How can I continue making work that highlights the biggest concerns of our day and of our Lord?
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Malone
Elizabeth Malone is artistic director of Compass | performance collective, a theater company associated with commonGood. With theatrical experience in NYC and a passion for communal purpose from her work in Palestine, she is creating artistic, risk-taking theater in Riverside.