Sunday, September 11, 2005

Playing God 2

Imagine the most energetic, postive thinking and committed Christian you know. Multiply that energy by two. Package it in a slight, masculine, athletic frame. Top it with an expressive, deeply sensitive, strong boned and often willfully clownish face, slightly receding hair and an invisible halo. You've got Rich Swingle, a New York actor and playwright. Rich brought his love, his talents, prayers and energies for a second time this year to the School for Music and Gospel Arts at Jackson's Point.

Rich played St. John in an amazing one man interpretation of the book of Revelation. Neatly avoiding the usual eschatological and didactic pitfalls, Rich rendered a portrayal of John's vision on the Isle of Patmos which captivated us and set us to thinking about the power of prayer, the purpose of life, the meaning of vision, the grace and love and yes, JUDGMENT of God.

Rich also played God. He taught others to play God. You read that right. Rich played God. Not for Rich the wry comedic style of George Burns or imaginative dialogues of Bill Cosby. Rich's turn as God came as he used the tool of enacted prayer to discern the heart of God. Drama students and faculty children supported Rich as he addressed our prayer concerns. Taking roles as family members, ill friends and relatives, victims of hurricane Katrina, aid workers, pastors, youth leaders and so on, the students mimed oppression, illness and distress. Rich or a designated student 'played God', moving to embrace, to heal, to comfort, to encourage, to embolden, to relieve, to sustain, to uphold, to release. I cannot find words to describe how utterly moving enacted prayer was. But I can tell you how this kind of prayer touched my life, and freed me up to do my real work at the school. I'll tell you about that in my next post.

While I'm gathering my courage for that, take a look at Rich's blog sites, his itinerary, his prayer blog and other bits by clicking on the title of this post. Rich is out west on a three week tour and will be doing enacted prayer with survivors of hurricane Katrina in Denver, Colorado. If you read back through Rich's posts you'll find pictures of students at this fabulous camp and the story of how I woke Rich up on the morning of the last day to tell him what enacted prayer had meant to me.


daisymarie said...

Ok. I'm intrigued. How do I find his blog?

steph said...

Connie it sounds like some amazing things were experienced and I look forward to reading more of them.