Southwest UMC

Jesus and the Art of Improv, Week 5: Seeing the Invisible

This Week’s Text: Luke 4:16-22

Improv really isn’t about being funny, although that helps. It is ultimately about making the invisible visible. It is about making the impossible possible. It is about making something that isn’t here present and real to the audience. The Kingdom of God works exactly like this!

God’s Kingdom is both here and not yet. What that means is that we can look at places and people in this world that radiate the presence of Christ. Yet, there are also places and people in this world that are literally hell on earth. But here’s the thing—we know how it is all going to end. Jesus was resurrected. In going through what he did, Jesus defeated the powers of sin and death. While they remain in this world, they no longer reign. Their days are numbered. There will come a time, when Jesus returns and works resurrection and recreation over all of creation, and sin and death will be finally and totally defeated. God’s Kingdom will be here in full, and those that have given their lives to and put their faith in Jesus will be resurrected, freed from sin and death as well, and take their eternal place in God’s Kingdom.

Today’s Scripture tells the story of Jesus, early on in his ministry, reading Scripture in his hometown Temple. He reads from Isaiah the promise of what God would do through God’s chosen one. And he said, today you have seen that Scripture fulfilled. As Jesus would travel and preach and minister and do amazing things over the next three years, people would see in Jesus the fulfillment of this Scripture. Their eyes would be open to the reality of God’s Kingdom. It is as if Jesus pulled back the curtain just a little bit and said, here is what is coming. Jesus made the Kingdom of God a reality even when it couldn’t be seen or sensed. In a way, Jesus was the greatest improv artist of all time.

And in his resurrection, we see what he meant—it has been fulfilled. All of those things will come true, and it isn’t in doubt. No matter how bad it looked then, and no matter how bad it still looks now, those things have been and are being fulfilled through Christ. Jesus made the impossible possible because it never really was impossible—just impossible without him. Jesus made the invisible visible because it never really was invisible—you only have to look through his eyes.

And so because we are called to be the church, the Body of Christ on earth, because we are his hands and feet, we are called to be improv artists as well. We are called to say, “yes” and be open because Christ was open to all. We are called to say, “yes AND…” and contribute because Christ has mission and ministry to do in this world through us. We are called to make statements because Christ is the solution to every problem on earth, and we are the only people on earth who know that and can declare it. And we are called to see mistakes as opportunities because until Christ comes again and heaven and earth are remade as one, we experience and encounter the remains of sin and death, yet we come in the name of the one who defeated them. And we are called to put them all together, as expert improv artists following Jesus, the greatest improv artist of all time, making the Kingdom of God visible for all to see.