On Sunday, March 2nd, Ballet 5:8 experienced a particularly significant "first" in a line of firsts since the company's beginnings in 2012: its first full length program in a theater, in Chicago, its very own city. The Chicago stop on the Spring Series Midwest Tour, at the Beverly Arts Center, proved to be a warm homecoming with an enthusiastic welcome from a crowd that filled the 400-seat theater, save a few corner seats in the balcony. The two-hour program was a beautiful opportunity for Ballet 5:8 to share not just art, ballet or beauty with the audience, but more fully, a series of ballets infused with the joy of many truths about God the company has been experiencing more fully than before as they have been preparing the program's three ballets, all inspired by concepts and stories in Scripture. One audience member commented:
Thank you Ballet 5:8 for all of your hard work, your dedication to sharing the Gospel, and your humble and gentle attitudes. Being in the audience tonight at the Beverly Arts Center was an amazing experience because of what God is doing through each of you. There were tears, there were laughs, there were little girls watching their role models, but most of all there were lives changed...
With thankfulness toward our Lord for His provision and work through the Chicago performance, we are excited to be looking ahead to the last stop on our three-city spring tour: Spring Arbor, Michigan. The trip to Spring Arbor is planned around our run of The Story of Job scheduled for 7:00pm on Saturday, March 22nd at White Auditorium at Spring Arbor University. The remainder of the weekend includes master classes at local dance studios and an appearance at one of our partner churches, Caring Community Church of Albion.
Throughout the process of preparing The Story of Job for theaters, the Ballet 5:8 has been learning a lot about Job and his life. It became apparent early in the study that Job is a tale commonly avoided, or at least, procrastinated on, due to its challenging nature found its address of the issue of human suffering. Greater familiarity, and understanding of the story developed through study and closer examination of Job's life. Still, God never quite answers the question of suffering, instead leaving us to chew on the great and powerful reality of God's nature as "I AM."
Interestingly, the apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of a modern-day application of the story of Job and of God's tendency to, mysteriously, allow various kinds of human suffering to continue unhindered, even after the coming of Jesus Christ. Living in a post-resurrection world, Paul was privy to Christ's having conquered death on the cross. Moreover, Paul had seen and experienced miracles. God was certainly capable of ending and alleviating suffering. Yet, we find Paul writing some sobering words, found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10,
But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
As we press in one more time and prepare to share Job's story with Spring Arbor next weekend, please join us in pondering this sobering but beautiful truth. Yes, as Christians, we will likely be called to seasons in our lives, even entire lives of suffering. But we have a more privileged perspective than Job. In Christ, "when I am weak, then I am strong."