Some shows feel like a tightrope act, even if I never get higher off the stage than my double balance board. When I'm doing something for the local community that's not inteded to be overtly 'Gospel' Sometimes I don't include any Christian routines - except perhaps the music I perform to- and feel like I've sold out my mission. Other times I include mostly or entirely scripture based routines and worry that I pulled a bait and switch. Then there's the times I know it worked just right. Recently it worked just right.
Although I don't find myself having to make this call often, I did this week. I was juggling for a senior citizen's luncheon in my home town of Bridgton, Maine at the Bridgton Community Center. As I told the audience that day, I was actually paying my rent by doing this show. The Center is where I practice during the winter months, so in exchange for that arrangement, I am willing to do shows at the center when the opportunity arises.
The center's 'big room' filled up with people prior to the noon start time, and neighbors caught up on all the news: How was Christmas? Did you lose power in the last storm? Has your company gone back home? This was actually the time I was supposed to do my show, but I knew I'd never get everyone's attention, and rightfully so. People need a time to socialize at events like this. I arranged instead to perform once lunch was served, and clearly it was the right way to go.
I started with my three ball routine, but instead of juggling to Mahalia Jackson's "When the Saints Go Marching In" I did it to Michael W. Smith's "Jingle Bells".I followed this up immediately with a diabolo routine to Melanie's version of "the Marvelous Toy". This established a Christmas theme to the show. From there I did my usual cigar box routine to Melanie's "O Come All Ye Faithful". This was the turning point to bring in a little of the Gospel. While the music's message is both clear and familiar, the routine itself takes things a little further. At the end I flip the boxes around and they have a cross, a heart and a U: Jesus loves you. Then the rouitne ends with a herringbone balance of eight boxes, the foundation of which is a cross. I followed this routine up with "Around the World". This allowed me to talk briefly about our trip to Uganda in 2018, and the fund raising my wife did to dig a well for the Buyala Children's School. This testimony was when the Holy Spirit really seemed to become present. I didn't preach, I didn't give the 'four spiritual laws' whatever they are. I just shared what God did.
After my one magic routine of the day, I closed with my double balance board routine to Melanie's "Hallelujah Chorus". But it was the conversations after the show that made it clear God was using my show that day. Many people were clearly touched by the program, and a few had mentioned seeing my show in other settings. I don't specifically remember the shows they were referrin gto, but as for last week's show, it was just right.