Sermon for December 8, 2019

There’s nothing quite like live musical theater. The costumes, the lights, the larger than life characters, the joy filled dance numbers, the tender melodies—all working together to transport you into the world of the story.

My favorite part of a musical production is the overture. Picture the theater before the overture begins—people are milling around, trying to find their seats; ushers stride up and down the aisles settling disputes over seats. The low hum of conversation, cough drop wrappers, seats folding up and down, and the rustling of the programs fills the air.

Suddenly the lights dim and a single spot points down into the musicians pit, a space you hadn’t even noticed until now. The shuffling of people and paper grows quiet as the conductor brings down the baton. Snippets of familiar tunes float out into the air, glimpses of the plot that is about to unfold before your eyes. The lilting ballad floats through the woodwind section. The jazzy dance number boogies through the brass section. The conflict rolls through the percussion and finds a crashing resolution in the cymbals.

In two minutes, the conductor has ferried you from the reality of the theater to the reality of the narrative. With each stroke of the baton, each change of tune or tempo, the excitement and expectation of the coming drama builds until the last note sounds and the curtain finally rises on Scene One. That’s why I love the overture—it walks you through all of the action, whets your appetite for what’s to come and brings you at the edge of your seats, feet tapping, ready to see what’s next.