My 8 year old grandchildren spent the night with us recently. Our church high school youth put on the play, “Godspell” that weekend, in the church hall. It’s one of my favorite plays, and although I have seen countless productions of it, I wanted to go again, both to see it and to support our youth. Wondering if the play, based on the story of Jesus’ life in modern times, would hold the attention of 8 year-olds for 2 hours, I asked my daughter what she thought. We both agreed to give it a try. They each brought stuffed animals to hold – maybe that would keep them quiet, I thought.
The audience’s chairs formed a squared “U” around the stage. We sat up front, at the corner, stage right. The twins paid close attention during the play, and were drawn into the story of Jesus’ life. The play’s first half was upbeat and joyful, as Jesus called, then taught his disciples through parables. Songs of love and some humorous remarks drew us all to loving Jesus, and to wanting to follow him.
After a short intermission, the play resumed. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. The tone changed dramatically. He, our newly beloved friend, was surrounded by adversaries, even betrayed by one of his own disciples! He prayed and prayed, yet his disciples fell asleep. He came over to the Garden of Gethsemane, right in front of us, at the corner of the stage. “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me,” he pleaded tearfully, on his knees. Just then, my precious grandson held out his stuffed animal toward Jesus, to comfort him! I let him go for a moment, but eventually pulled his arm back, afraid that he would distract the actor. I was sure my grandson would have insisted on giving Jesus his toy dog for comfort. My precious grandson. My heart melted.
What can we offer to comfort Christ?