April 3, 2020

The Playwright’s Son

Once upon a time there was a playwright. While this playwright was the best who ever lived, his passion was not for his plays, but for his son, the greatest actor of his time. The son loved to act, and to bring joy, truth and meaning to audiences of every age and all kind. His gifts were immense, and his talent untapped. This son had played many parts, but had never played a part that truly demonstrated his true talents and potential. Both the playwright and his son were convinced that, if the right play could ever be created, this young actor could change the world forever.

So the playwright devoted himself to the writing of the greatest play ever conceived, a play that would somehow tell the story of the world, and yet be the story of every person. Yet, above all, this play would finally and undoubtedly reveal the playwright’s son as the greatest actor of the age.

And so the play came to be. The play was written in chapters and scenes, and was played out slowly, over many nights, in a grand auditorium where thousands could attend. After a majestic and complex first act, the son took to the stage for four incredible and magnificent sections of the play. His performance was amazing, yet it was even more than what it appeared. The audience was stunned to see that this actor had, in fact, been in the entire first act, and his wonderful performance left everyone in awe. The play was the story of this actor. He was its great key and meaning. The tragedy and triumph of this actor became the hope of all who saw his story. Their lives were changed by this performance. It was not just a play; it was a window and an answer into the meaning of life.

The playwright had yet more surprises in store. The second half of the play invited the audience to join the story; to take the truth, power and beauty of what they had seen in the playwright’s son into the darkest corners of the world and into ever facet of their own lives. This play could change the course of life, even the destiny of the world.

When the play’s sublime ending had unfolded, the audience realized that this play was not a simple play at all, but a revelation of this amazing actor and his message of hope and life for all people. This play presented an invitation into a new way of life embodied and presented by the actor in this perfect story. Everyone left the theater realizing they must continue the play themselves.

In years to come, however, the playwright was saddened to discover that the play was largely overlooked in favor of a great interest in….the script. Copies of the script of his play had become massively popular, and his son, while being appreciated as a character in the story, was not truly appreciated as the playwright had intended. The son came to mean little more than a role in a play, while the script came to be almost mysteriously and superstitously revered. The script became the point of discussions and societies. Disagreements broke out, and schools of interpretation were everywhere. Experts arose to debate and defend their views on the script.

These experts on the play grew in influence, and were able to explain everything in the play in detail, usually in ways the playwright found absurd and depressing. The experts had little appreciation of the Great Actor, his message and his significance. They found him interesting only in their debates about the true interpretation of the play. What had been a life-transforming experience became an object of study.

The invitation to live out the remaining acts of the play became something of a tired joke, and the son decided to never play the stage again. But one could go virtually anywhere and find battles and books written about minute details of the script. The actor’s words became the source of more animosity and hostility than love and humility. It was a sad and ironic end to a dream.

The playwright never wrote again, and after a time, there were few who remembered that the true power of the play was the son, and not the script. When someone would ask the playwright what the play was really about, or question the meaning of some detail, he would ask a question in return: “How can you read the play, and not see that it is about my son?”

Comments

  1. I do have to say that this was a very artful entry. Thank you for the reminder of how Jesus is important. Very often I forget. Thanks.

  2. joel hunter says

    Glad you posted this here, Monk. It deserved a wider audience than the humble trappings of its first appearance.

  3. Brilliant.

    (Although I might argue that the playwright has written again; just not in the same way as His magnum opus.)

  4. Great stuff man. What’s funny is that I am a person who is basically in recovery from arguing about the nature and meaning of the play. I lost sight of the great actor long ago, and thus lost sight of my own identity and meaning. Great stuff man!!

  5. We all need to never, ever forget Jesus, or ever place Him somewhere other than the center. This is a great reminder of that eternal truth. Thank you for posting this here.