Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Does Shakespeare Have To Do With Christ?

I love how God can provide encouragement right when we need it!  Friday's post, A Princess For A Day, was about how God used a day in my daughter's life to show me the unfair way people are treated in this world.  I ended the post with the idea that we who know Christ have a responsibility to share the hope we have in Christ with the world.  Today God reminded me how He is using people every day to reach out to those who are hurting greatly and have been believing the message that they are worthless.

Peace of the City (POTC) in Buffalo, NY is a Christian ministry that reaches out to children and teens on the West Side of Buffalo.  POTC uses literacy, arts, advocacy, and transformation to reach out to the families in their neighborhood.  While they are helping families through homework clubs and the arts, they are also sharing the love of Christ with them and giving them hope.  Today, I had the opportunity to see some of the students who participate at POTC perform "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Shakespeare.  It was great to see the kids not only having an opportunity to learn and understand Shakespeare, but they had a moment to shine.

These are kids who do not have an opportunity at school to see or perform Shakespeare because their school budget doesn't allow for such "frills."  These are kids who have little opportunity for recognition otherwise.  These are beautiful, talented kids who deserve the same opportunities that my children receive, but do not.  But where there is little hope, God is great.  God is using the staff and volunteers at POTC to show His love for these kids.  I went to see them perform, and I saw hope.  I saw kids get recognition and praise for their hard work and shine in their moment in the spotlight.  I saw kids who were receiving the message that if they could learn Shakespeare, just imagine what else they could do!  I saw kids who were learning to hear the message that if they are in a relationship where they are not being treated as God intended for them to be treated it was okay to walk away from that relationship.

Just today, I was having a conversation with a friend who gave me permission to share this.  She was sharing how she struggled with how her boyfriend was treating her.  She had never had anyone in her life give her the loving attention that she was receiving from him.  She explained that she struggled with the fact that he treated her like a princess and she didn't feel like she deserved it.  But in his love for her he told her she deserved every bit of attention and love he gave and that God loved her even more.  He is so right!  God loves us more than we can even comprehend.  Ephesians 3:18-19 says, "And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  And my you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." (NLT).

So what does Shakespeare have to do with Christ?  The connection is that God can use anything for His purpose to reach out to us.  POTC is using Shakespeare to reach out to kids to share with them that they are special.  But not just special because they can understand and perform Shakespeare; they are special because God loves them deeply.  They can learn to believe that they are who God says they are and not listen to the messages that this world gives them.  Thank you, POTC for allowing God to use you to reach out to those He loves so dearly!

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