As Jesus following artists, we often talk about our Audience of One. God is our only audience, His opinion is the only one that matters, we don’t need to dance to impress people or gain their approval.
True. Completely valid. I totally agree. But what about the physical audience? We are pursuing a performing art in which “success” is based primarily on visual aesthetics and personal opinion.
Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile these two ideas. On one hand, if God is our only audience, why don’t we just put on a show for an empty auditorium? Or are we supposed to go into our closets to dance like we’re supposed to pray? But on the the other, wouldn’t that be like putting our light under a bowl if we’re called to use our gifts for His glory?
I confess sometimes I’ve thought shouldn’t care about the audience. Yet that’s pretty much impossible. They’re sitting right there–artistic staff judging your readiness for the next role, teacher scrutinizing technique and coaching you towards perfection, peers either cheering you on or waiting for you to get injured, your family proud to know someone on stage, or some random person who paid upwards of $50 to sit in a seat for two hours. It seems kind of wrong to just not care about them.
We’re coming at it from the wrong angle
The curtain goes up but the wall is still there. Pride makes us think we have something to offer them; a service they might benefit from. An “us” and “them” mentality cultivates a sense of superiority and comparison. We feel good about all those years of training and flex our muscles in satisfaction. In reality, our art is just another channel of communication. It’s a language. A conversation.
From isolation to community.
Beyond the footlights, is a collection of human beings just like us. Precious souls behind every pair of eyes glistening in the blackness. Souls that have an eternity ahead of them. Souls that need hope. Hearts that need mending. Walls that need to be torn down. Wounds that need to be healed. Confidence that needs to be restored. If we’ve really experienced His love and grace, how could we not care about them?
Art is a medium of exchange–our language. The choreography is the structure of the conversation and the performance is an invitation. An invitation into a BIGGER story, the greatest story ever told, the JESUS story!
Because He has redeemed us we do have something to offer–hope! Not through pride, training, or knowledge gained by study but through humility. In offering our lives to the King as an empty vessel, He fills us that we might be used to offer His abundant life to others and make His name famous.
Yes, God is our Audience of One but we have a physical audience as well. May you dance [create] not to impress but to engage. May you offer yourself that they might experience His love, beauty, and goodness. Extend the invitation into the JESUS story, that they might join this Divine Dance with our Maker.