Theatre of Creation
By David Noroña
There's no feeling like opening night: the nerves, the electricity in the air, the expectation and anticipation of response. The author and artist have prepared, dreamed, imagined both the work and its impact, and now the moment of revealing is here. The house goes silent as lights dim to black, a special kind of dark before dawn, when suddenly the red curtain parts like a sea of sorts and there is light -- a spotlight. What will we see?
On September 5, 2017 the doors of the Bethel Conservatory of the Arts, a school of the performing arts (acting, music theatre, story and dance), opened in Redding, California in partnership with Bethel Church. Birthed only five years ago out of a dream and a conversation, today more than 20 students, 4 founders, 4 staff and many faithful volunteers gather every day for one, singular vision: to train and equip creative revivalists who release God's Kingdom in excellence through story, movement and emotion.
Over 500 years ago, two movements were separately birthed: the Renaissance and the Reformation. The former believed that the arts could be and should be re-birthed. From that conviction masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, David and the Last Supper were born. The latter fought to reclaim the primacy of God's living word and the Gospel's gift of salvation by grace. But what if we're in a moment of convergence unlike any other at any time in human history, a moment when both Renaissance and Reformation, two powerful streams, are coming together to form one mighty river of revival, this time... led by artists?
Romans 8:19 declares that "creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." It's as if all of Heaven sits in the theater of creation, waiting with the Book of Life in hand like a Playbill, a program of sorts, with baited breath, eagerly expecting this curtain to part. Yet this time, it's not a show of human invention but of God's intention. You see, revelation isn't creation, it's just pulling back the curtain on what was always there. And as it turns out, He's never changed His tune or told a different story. It began with Father, Son, Spirit and a cast of two. Sure there was a turn. Doesn’t every good story have surprises? But maybe it’s time to go back to page one. Maybe the Author and Finisher has a rewrite he’s anxiously hoping we’ll stage under His direction.
So, where were we? Ah, yes… The lights were down. The curtain opens. Audience and Artist inhale. And no doubt a new song, a new story, a new day begins. Personally, I'm just hoping for a long run. The longest ever, in fact: Eternity.