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My family and I had the opportunity to experience a theatrical performance of a lifetime this past week. We traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to watch In the Beginning—a dramatization of the Creation account with actors, animals, music, and special effects vibrantly unfolding on a 180 degree panoramic set. It was a breathtaking and emotional experience that we will never forget.
The show was held in the 2,000 seat Millennium Theatre.With its 300 foot wrap-around stage and ornate lobby, this sprawling edifice is a magnificent architectural work. It is one of three theatres owned and operated by Sight & Sound and is a home for many of their shows. Sight & Sound has a powerful mission to advance the Kingdom of God:
To present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sow the Word of God into the lives of our customers, guests, and fellow workers by visualizing and dramatizing the scriptures, through inspirational productions, encouraging others and seeking always to be dedicated and wise stewards of our God-given talents and resources.
Ironically, Lancaster Pennsylvania is also the home of an old religious order known as the Amish. The Amish are a private people who separate themselves from the world in order to live closer to God. They avoid most technological advancements of the last century because they believe such things will lead them into worldliness. Right in the middle of their pristine farmland, however, is a group of dedicated Christians who believe in using their God-given creativity and the latest technology to deliver the Gospel and evangelize the lost.
Co-founders Glenn and Shirley Eshelman first presented their inspirational show back in the early 1970s. Starting with very little, their "production facilities" consisted of a microphone, a record turntable, and a single slide projector. Today, they are building their third theatre in Branson, Missouri, which is set to open in the Spring of 2008. Words cannot adequately describe the talent and quality of their productions.
When my family and I had finished watching the three-hour production of In the Beginning, several thoughts came to our minds. It made for fantastic discussion and teaching all the way home. First, we were confronted with the reality and consequences of Adam’s sin. Adam enjoyed a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which was tragically lost after the fall. The judgment of physical death was bad enough, but spiritual death was even worse. Secondly, we more clearly understood how Adam was our "Federal" head and that God’s judgment fell on all of his descendants. Finally, the show lifted up our eyes to behold the second Adam—Jesus Christ. Jesus is our new "Federal" head and through him the curse in Eden was reversed.
Paradise was lost in Eden. But paradise is being restored through Christ. We don’t have all the answers as to how this will unfold, but we know that Christ’s Kingdom will advance until all of his enemies have been destroyed. The last enemy will be death (1 Cor. 15:25-26). Until that time, let us rejoice that our relationship with our Creator has been restored through His atoning death and resurrection. For further reading, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of Paradise Restored by the late Dr. David Chilton.