At first I was just going to spend a few minutes in the room to get the feel for this week; and instead I sat for nearly 2 hours listening to stories – stories that spoke to me and made me wonder if I too had found my “ministry.”
Now I am a very committed Jewish man, and checking into the concept of “ministry” I found it is a fairly specific Christian concept. I searched the phrase “Jewish ministry” and found mostly Christian programs seeking to reach Jews about the Good News of Jesus. Yet listening to the stories of men and women from NYTS about how they have been able to radically change their lives to minister to men and women in need and to experience the transformative power of service, I felt like “oh, that is what I found.”
In many ways I stumbled into The Actual Dance. It was a form of storytelling encouraged by my improv teachers. The Actual Dance though became more than a story told through theater – it has become a vehicle to tell a story of “good news” of a different kind. The Actual Dance as experienced by audience provides the opportunity to understand – to quote a reviewer from Stage Buddy in New York – that “life is indeed beautiful.” It is a map of sorts to finding the “beauty and dignity” in the most difficult and gut wrenching event in our life. It is about what love really means.
What I discovered sitting in that room last week though is that performing the show, engaging the audiences and offering all of those who need it the chance to see their lives differently is for me a gift. It seems like what I was always meant to do.
It is my ministry.