We sat inside thinking of the months of practice, looking out as the water flowed down Main Street as the torrent fell from the sky. It was Friday morning, the day of our Festival of Faith which was to be performed later that day at 5pm in Jacumin Plaza. The forecast had been for rain, heavy rain and now it seemed that for once the weatherman had it right. I looked at my family and knew that regardless of the outcome, we were going to perform, knowing there would be no tomorrow, no second chances, or so we believed.
I bowed my head and said a silent prayer asking for God to halt the rain long enough so that there would be a break before the time of our show, perhaps letting folks know it was safe to venture out, and then long enough for us to conclude our performance. I had learned from Pastor Thomas to be specific in prayer requests and as I have been told, I am far too sparse on prayer requests for my personal needs. So not withstanding my own conviction, I asked and I asked boldly; so much so that I told the children I had asked God to make a break in the weather, to which they only nodded.
The heavy rain kept falling.
We carried on during the day preparing regardless of what the skies above did; the rain continued to fall with clouds so dark it sometimes seemed as if it were late evening rather than early afternoon.
Then miraculously, about an hour before the time of our show, the rain slowed, ebbed and finally stopped. As we began setting up the sound equipment for the stage, the street dried and clouds began to part with intermittent shafts of sunlight flowing through.
My heart smiled as I realized, God had not only answered my prayers, but also for the fact my children saw once again the power of prayer in action.
The evening’s show went off without a problem as the youth of our bands, the Boy Scouts from troop 192, and Senator Jacumin performed flawlessly, providing an emotionally charged performance that moved those in attendance beyond words. The response was so great from those who arrived late, that we were asked to perform the show again on the next day, Saturday; another day that the weather forecast had predicted 100% chance of rain. Those who were part of the performance looked at me thinking it impossible, but I smiled for within I knew if it was His will, it would be done. I agreed that if it were possible we would do a second show on Saturday.
In the meantime, we had never seen the play “From This Day Forward” and since the rain had abated, we all hurried from our show off to grab a quick bite for supper and then still in costume, attended the long awaited play. We were not disappointed. The first Act had such an impact that I found it difficult to hold in my emotions, even after I had written about such atrocities. So well done was the performance of the “Massacre” scene that the full force of the sight and sound combined brought all to tears as the sounds of cries in the darkness still echo in my head. It was truly a moving moment. That Saturday evening, even though dark clouds loomed overhead, we were protected as the entire play went off without the first raindrop.
On the way back to the hotel from the play, the weather finally broke and the heavens opened up; my soul felt relieved and thankful all at once.
We awoke Saturday morning to an overcast sky, but the rain had stopped just before dawn.
Later in the day, sometime after the second show, when there had been no rain since early that morning, I sat and thanked the Lord once again for answering prayers beyond what were deserved or expected and realized His will had been done once again.
In all, the weekend was more than just our performance; total immersion in the spirit is the only way I can begin to describe it. For our small troop of performers and families, we found the will of God working in our immediate lives so greatly that we will forever be changed. From the beauty of the sweet voices being lifted up in praise to the words of gratitude spoken by our audience members, from blessings of seeing what we portrayed acted out by others, to strangers stopping us on the street asking us why were dressed in costume which gave us the opportunity to witness to them our story and conviction; it was more than just listening to a story, it was living the tale, the journey became one with the lives we lived. As we stood in the darkness of the Cathedral Cave on the Trail of Faith and I described its significance to those young voices who asked in that darkness what it was about, I realized there was a need, a reason to share the story beyond merely telling it; reliving it to some degree was necessary.
This Sunday morning, Pastor Dr. Fredrick at the Waldensian Presbyterian Church gave his sermon on the Agape Center that began in 1947 by a small group of Waldensians. Agape is Greek word describing “Christ-like love” and is considered the highest form of love; it is self-giving. After this weekend, I felt I had begun to understand what others came to realize through their total immersion in the spirit when they came together to create the center by hand. From this small group of Waldensians led by Tullio Vinay their servitude created something that brought together Christians from all walks of life, rather than divide them. To this day, the Agape center is used by Christians from all over the world as a spiritual retreat, a place where one can take a sabbatical, a place to step back and understand all that God has done in our lives, whether we realized it or not.
How much more could one ask, how much greater could time spent with friends and family be spent; this I cannot imagine or answer other than this was more than a fulfillment of any dream I had dared to imagine.
Blessings are given to those who seldom realize them until it is too late. I pray that the Lord allows me to never forget the blessings I received this past weekend, for the Festival of Faith was all and more than I could have ever imagined, Agape love if you will and for this I feel truly blessed.
Thank you God!
“[ The Greatest Gift ] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. ….” – 1 Corinthians 13