Lessons I Learned from the Stage

by Upper Room Editorial on Sunday, June 18, 2017

I’ve learned a great deal about faith on stage. I love the stage…the sound of hard-soled shoes on wood planks where so many worlds have been played out, so many layers of paint applied over the years. I love the moment when the set is illuminated by lights.

A Lesson on Light

One day at the end of a rehearsal, the director, R.B. Hill, gathered his cast to go over his many pages of critique. In a gruff voice which has rattled many an actor, he spoke.

“B.J., stay in the light!” R.B. told me.

You see, during one scene of the play I’d wandered outside the realm of the spotlight meant to illuminate me as I walked among the graves. R.B.'s instruction made good sense. The audience wants to see the action and, at that moment, the action was me, a little old lady wandering among her memories. Over the years I’ve taken that simple note to heart. It’s easy to walk outside the light, to forget who we are and whose we are, to fall short of God’s best for us, outside the light in shadows.  Not only can we so easily lose our way, but those who long to follow in our footsteps may begin to falter. So I take that lesson to heart, remembering that Jesus told us to walk in the light as well.

A Lesson on the Heart

One night as I began my performance of Susanna Wesley at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church in Jackson, I could hear a soft, rhythmic tapping beneath my every word. Suddenly I realized it was the beating of my heart being picked up by the small, wireless microphone concealed beneath my costume. Lesson number two: our lives as Christians speak volumes, more than our words is our witness…that which is at the heart of our lives day by day. We should live lives worthy of imitation.

A Lesson on Breathing

When I went out onto the stage once more, I remembered another profound truth from R.B.: “Breathe, B.J., breathe.” 

“Ah ha,” I thought, as I realized I had not been breathing deeply, “that’s a good concept.”

Breathing is essential for life. The Holy Spirit of God, closer even than our own breath, waits to fill and use us, equip and empower us, if only we empty the useless and harmful of our lives and let the Spirit in.  Jesus told us in Acts 1:8 that " [we] will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon [us].”

- Belinda Jo "B.J." Mathias

Pictured above: B.J. Mathias dressed as Susanna Wesley with Rev. Chris Young (top) and Rev. Rick Brooks (below). B.J. has portrayed Susanna Wesley in performances across the U.S. since the early 1990s.

8 Comments

Comment by Tom of Canal Winchester, OH

What a heartfelt devotion for the day and the days following. And I love your tips that your director gave you: stay in the light and breathe in and out in the rhythm of the Spirit. Thank you BJ

Posted June 18, 2017 at 03:15AM CDT
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

B.J, your words echo loud and clear. You are a true warrior for Jesus Christ. God is Love for All!!!

Posted June 18, 2017 at 05:13AM CDT
Comment by Karen of Jackson, MS

Wow! BJ that's all I can say. As a sister who lives in our hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. So proud of you and this devotional. I would have loved to see this play. Such profound words "Breathe and Stay in the light!"
Be Blessed!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ

Posted June 18, 2017 at 05:43AM CDT
Comment by cherie of Inverness, FL

BJ, what a wonderful way to express your love and light to the world! Love to you, sister!

Posted June 18, 2017 at 06:19AM CDT
Comment by Carolyn of Austin, TX

Truly a wow--every word. Today I will especially remember, "The Holy Spirit of God, closer even than our own breath, waits to fill and use us, equip and empower us, if only we empty the useless and harmful of our lives and let the Spirit in." God be with you.

Posted June 18, 2017 at 06:58AM CDT
Comment by Matt

 B.J., thank you for todays devotional & writing above, great reminders. PTL

Posted June 18, 2017 at 07:46AM CDT
Comment by Rich of Silver Spring, MD

What were Susanna's views on slavery? John and Charles were opposed, yet their views were disregarded by Methodists in the American South.

Posted June 18, 2017 at 08:53AM CDT
Comment by Courtney of Huntsville, AL

I love your link of light and breathing to our life in God's light. Beautiful reminders!

Posted June 18, 2017 at 12:15PM CDT