Grace. Say the word out loud. Now, back up a step: form it in your mind first, then say it again. When you think grace, what do you imagine? The idea of grace is an abstraction until you imagine what grace is like—until you compare it to something that your senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell can relate to. What’s the color of grace? What does grace sound like, taste like? What’s the aroma of grace? How about texture? The more we think of grace in real-world analogies, the more likely we are to act graciously because we tend to model most accurately what we have sensed most fully.
I think of most nouns as being static, like a single frame in a movie. But grace is more verb than noun, more “gifting” than “gift.” More movie than single frame. The idea of grace requires motion, dance, drama, if we are to capture what God has in mind when He acts graciously toward us.
That’s why I act out Scripture. Dramatizing biblical stories allows me to re-present God’s gracious work in history by employing the senses in motion. I want to provide folks an opportunity to experience familiar Bible stories as they use their imaginations to participate in the events. They feel the weight of the knife in Abraham’s hand as he is about to sacrifice his son, they hear the sound of the rustling brush where the ram is caught, they smell the offering of the ram on the altar where Isaac had lain only moments before, they taste the salty tears on the cheek of the father who had been spared more than his life. Put it all together and you get God’s grace.
It’s more than an intellectual exercise, and it’s more than entertainment. It’s the sanctified use of imagination, which refuses to allow an audience the luxury of mere observation. When we act out God’s grace for the world to see, we invite our audience to participate in worship. One way Insight for Living makes this possible is through radio theater productions. Inspired from sermons by Chuck Swindoll, Insight for Living brings to life the stories and characters found in God’s Word.
We Christians are God’s actors, His re-presenters—whether we act out the biblical account on a stage in front of a congregation, or at our job, or at our daughter’s soccer game. We are all representing Jesus Christ, inviting the world to participate in God’s unfolding cosmic drama. It’s a lot to think about. It’s a lot to say “grace” over.
Reg Grant serves as chair and professor of the Department of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in preaching, drama, voice, creative writing, and creative radio production. Reg also serves on the Insight for Living Ministries Board of Directors and brings Bible characters to life through his dramatizations during the Insight for Living Ministries’ tours of Israel and other regions.
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