Many years ago a Christian Science friend asked me if I would be interested in doing a performance of the Gospel According to St. John. I was. And for many years afterwards I had the great privilege of performing the Gospel for many audiences. For those who haven’t heard one of the Gospels on stage, one person speaks the Gospel in the role of the Evangelist.
When I was elected First Reader at my branch church, it was natural for me to carry to the platform some of those things that I had learned from bringing forth the meaning of the Gospel. There were a number of deeper things that I wanted to bring to the reading. Here are four of them.
To do the Gospel of John, I had to speak for all the characters, including Jesus of Nazareth. A close reading of the Gospel shows that Christ Jesus had many things to say either in defense of himself or to help others understand who he was and how he did what he did. I had already learned in my performance of the deeply metaphysical book of John that I had a choice to make when speaking Jesus’ words. I either spoke those words as though I was mimicking him or I spoke them as though they were mine, too. The first choice was acting, and since I had no real acting experience, I simply didn’t know how to do it, nor does any sort of acting belong in a Christian Science service. The second option—to read the words as if they were mine—was the only choice left.