The Jesus Stories and the other Jesus Stories

It’s called The Jesus Stories and as the title suggests that’s what Ted and I (Jeff Raught) try to do. Finding new ways, while visiting some of the old, to tell these stories of Jesus. It’s a play interwoven with music and scenes around food. Pasta, cheese, fine wine and so much more. But that’s the play, and what we perform on stage. What I stumbled across this past weekend at Lake Luther were the other Jesus Stories. The ones happening in between the lines.

Saturday afternoon an 8 year old boy came up to me and said. “Hey, I wanted to tell you that I like the way you play the piano.” Thank you, I replied. He paused for a moment and continued, “I especially like the way you play thunder and lightning…….yeah, I really like the way you play thunder and lightning.” Well it can be fun playing thunder and lightning, I told him. He smiled broadly, shook my hand said “Okay….Bye”……and off he went. An old soul at the age of 8.

Early Sunday morning a man strolled by Ted and me as we were preparing. He told us that he had been dead. Not just dead to things spiritual. No, he meant dead. As in dead, dead. He had a double lung transplant and somewhere in the middle of all that, he had his own Jesus Story.

Finally, after the Sunday morning service, another fellow stopped by. He spoke of how much he had enjoyed the weekend. The music, the way Ted and I told the stories. He just loved the new light that had been shed on all of this that he knew so well. He was eighty years old and a retired pastor. He said that he shared these stories many times in his role as pastor. Do you know what spoke to me the most he asked? His voice softened and those precious eyes filled a bit….. “Zacchaeus,” he whispered as he put his hand over his heart. “I could really see him, and I loved seeing and hearing about his “lunch” with Jesus.”

And so it went, the woman who said she wished we could have had some time over coffee. The hug from the man who was too emotional to speak. The hoots and hollers from the audience as well as the silence they gave when we all entered in. The delirious fun we all had together singing Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

Jesus Stories, they are not just for then, but for now. It’s not just a play, but life and faith walking side by side, inside and out. I’m thankful to be able to tell them, but I’m blessed beyond measure to hear them.

-Jeff Raught