Many years ago I went to see the play Godspell.
I saw this play for the first time at my cousin’s college production. I was five years old. Over the last 35+ years, I have seen it ten times. It is a hokey play about Jesus’ life, based on the Gospel of Matthew.
I sat alone in a dinner theatre during this particular production. They did a phenomenal job; it was lighthearted and goofy in typical Godspell style, but lacked the cheesiness.
In this production, the play opens with all but two characters scattered around the stage. They tell us their individual spiritual beliefs. John the Baptist suddenly dashes onto stage and baptizes them with confetti. He and the others celebrate the baptisms and toss buckets of confetti onto the stage. While the others merrily sing and dance their way off the stage, John the Baptist bellows the passage, Matthew 3:11.
In the background is a man dressed in white custodian attire. He has a large broom and is cleaning up the mess left behind by the others. John the Baptist notices him and reveals to us that this man is Jesus.
It hit me at that point, as I am sure was the director’s intention, that this is the perfect visual, a simple visual to portray a complex concept.
Jesus is wearing pure white, without stains of color. He is on stage cleaning up the mess he didn’t make. He is doing a menial job, with menial pay. Never before had Jesus’ message been so clear to me:
I was the one who made the mess and he was the one who cleaned it up.
- I didn’t have to ask.
- I didn’t have to give him anything.
- He didn’t complain.
- He didn’t draw unnecessary attention to himself.
Selflessness and having the heart of a servant are my two weak points. They are the reasons I didn’t think being the parent of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder would be a good fit.
I am aware each day of how dark and dingy my clothes are compared to the purity of Jesus’. I wash my clothes but can never quite get rid of the stains. Sometimes I let my clothes sit in the dirty laundry pile, uninterested in taking the time to clean them. I often wear them too long, the dirt and grime slowly building up, without noticing and, sometimes, without caring.
As each day passes, I am grateful for God’s love and Jesus’ gift of showing me how to live lovingly. I pray that when my days end, my clothes will be a shade closer to the white worn by the unassuming janitor in this particular production of Godspell.