A few weeks ago my wife and I had the great joy of going to see the musical Hamilton.
We don’t go to the theatre much and these tickets were a lottery prize. As a result we got sat right in middle of the very front row. It’s not a seat that many would enjoy. You’re looking up at an angle at the stage and lose some of the sense of the entire scenes as they develop. Even the nosebleed section would give you a better experience with an overview of what was going on. Instead I worried we’d be asking what’d I miss?
Or so you might think.
But it turns out siting in the front row is the best place to be. First, you get to see some amazing detail. For instance, I had no idea that King George (obviously the real hero of the whole show and superbly depicted by Brent Hill) has a spectacular jewelled pendant hanging off his regal chain with a depiction of St George slaying the dragon. That appears to be unique to the Sydney production and not something I would have possibly noticed sitting further away.
In the same way we saw buckles on shoes, garters on legs, the actual script on Declarations and Federalist Papers and so much more. For someone who mines for information it was a real treat.
However, that wasn’t the best bit.
Our seat put us right behind the musical director, looking over his shoulder onto his score and beyond him into the orchestra pit.
And so the next three hours were spent absolutely geeking out looking back and forth from the stage to the score. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me, who has been playing piano since the age of 7 and done a small bit of musical theatre at the keys myself it was an absolute delight.
What was most enjoyable was watching as the Director read ahead in the score and led his orchestra forward. You could see every note coming in advance and anticipate every cue and prompt. The pages were flicked a bar or two ahead and not a note was missed. From the moment the first page of the score was opened up we were in safe hands and there was never a doubt we would get to the end. Everyone in the theatre might have been in the room where it happens but I got to see what comes next.
Going to see Hamilton was a real treat towards the end of what’s been a very difficult year for so many of us. Wearing our masks was a small price to pay for the joy of that afternoon. As I write covid numbers are rising again in NSW and you can feel the anxiety thicken around us. Will restrictions have to be reimposed? Will our loved ones stay safe? Will we even get to church on Christmas Day? It really does seem like we live in a world turned upside down.
Yet for the Christian, while we face the same uncertainties as everyone else there is one enormous difference.
We’re sitting in the front row.
The Christian, with a Bible open in front of them is not perched at the distant lofty heights of the very back of the theatre, struggling to see what’s going on. No, we’re positioned right behind the director with full view of the score of the entire show and able to watch him confidently direct all things to their intended conclusion.
The Scriptures are full of assurances that God not only has his own plans for our place history but is utterly sovereign over them. You may ask Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
As history appears to hurtle on non-stop it’s good to know that every event is under control. We can affirm with Job,
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
Most of all, we learn that our security is secure with God’s Right Hand Man.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In a few days we get to celebrate that God always gets the timing right:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman,
and his calendar still has important events remaining.
Christian, we’re sitting in the front row. As we open up the pages we see the entire score in front of us and we can watch the director effortlessly guide things through to their planned conclusion. The times may be uncertain to us, but our God has never been unsure of what is happening. Far from it! Perhaps we need to pay a little more attention as we watch along over his shoulder. I suspect we’ll enjoy it all the more.