Scripture as theatre at latest CMA breakfast

IT was a different kind of Christian Men’s Association breakfast at Tash’s Craft Bar last Saturday, as instead of giving his testimony, guest speaker Noël-Jean Creille took the audience on a journey through scripture as though they were watching the acts of a play.

THE POWER OF STORYTELLING: Father Noël-Jean Creille was the speaker at the Christian Men’s Association breakfast at Tash’s Craft Bar last Saturday Picture: JON HOUZET

Creille is better-known as an accomplished organist at St Paul’s Anglican Church, having formerly lived in Calitzdorp and Graaff-Reinet.

“We are all pilgrims on a journey of life from earth to heaven,” he said. He asked the men and women present to imagine they were in a theatre as the curtain rose on the story of Abraham, “our father in the faith”.

He related God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his only child, Isaac – an event which prefigured the atoning sacrifice of Jesus – but staying Abraham’s hand and providing a ram in the thicket as the sacrificial offering.

“How would we have responded if we were in Abraham’s shoes?” Creille asked.

For the next act, Creille described the story of Moses, from being hidden in the bulrushes as a baby, to growing up in the house of Pharaoh until feeling as an adult after killing an Egyptian.

The scene changes to Moses’ time in the wilderness, looking after sheep, until he encounters the burning bush and is told by the Lord to return to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to release the Israelites in bondage.

“How would we have responded?” Creille asked.

“Our circumstances are all different and we are all at a different milestone in our life. Some of us struggle a little bit with our faith. But God has promised us he will never leave us or forsake us,” he said.

“And Paul wrote in one of his epistles, ‘He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”

Returning to the story of Moses, Creille related how, once delivered from Egypt but experiencing some hardship in the wilderness, the Israelites complained and longed for what they had in Egypt.

“Moses had to contend with the aggro of the Israelites. God gives them water from the rock and manna from heaven, and still they complain.

“We take so much for granted. We’re slow to pray when we should have hearts of thankfulness.”

The curtain rises again on Elijah, “a man who fought for what is right”. Elijah’s life ranges from his great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, to fleeing from evil Queen Jezebel and sitting alone and despondent under a juniper tree.

“And he says, ‘Lord, it is enough, take away my life.’ I’m sure there are times we all feel like Elijah,” said Creille.

Turning to the story of Job, Creille went past the familiar tale of suffering to focus on Job’s great statement of faith: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”

The play moved on to Peter, preaching about the risen Jesus on the Day of Pentecost, and then Paul, an enemy of the church, having a life-changing encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and becoming a great ambassador for the church and God.

“Till Paul says to Timothy, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ May we all say that,” Creille concluded.

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