Saturday, December 12, 2009

Edwards Opera House

I stepped into a time warp. One foot was barely inside the door and I knew already that this would be an experience to savor. The building was refurbished, but unchanged -- it was as 19th century as any structure still standing could possibly be. Why, I was simply mesmerized. Anne of Green Gables could have stepped onto the stage and recited a poem, and I would not have been surprised. This was exactly what she saw, smelled, and heard in that small theater where her students performed. The floor boards creaked. The wooden walls and ceiling glowed in the dim light. And the ornate carvings of the proscenium boasted of some craftsman's handiwork. It seemed almost heavenly to me. I wanted to stay, to not return to the reality of life, to imagine and find a perfect world.

Old-fashioned. Days gone by. Great-grandmother's era.

What do those words conjure up in your mind? What emotions, sights, thoughts? I'll bet something warm and fuzzy is amongst them. Something safe, wholesome, quaint, nurturing. Simpler. Quieter. Kinder. Ah -- I closed my eyes and felt it all.

A chamber orchestra accompanied a small choir in the performance of Handel's Messiah. Anne would have loved it. I'm almost certain that... well, I could almost swear that some of those singers looked just like her Kingsport girls. And those gray-haired ladies in their fine woolen coats were surely their mothers. I'll bet some of them were Pringles. They must have been.

But now the last note had been sounded. The audience generously applauded, graciously lingering and taking in the moment. Still, all too soon, they filed out one by one. I looked around and sighed. Sad to say, it was time to leave my imaginings behind.

Certain aspects of turn-of-the-century living (I mean the last century "turnover", not this one) were kinder and gentler. It certainly was many of those things that I loved imagining. But it was not entirely gentle, not thoroughly kind and good. Imaginations are free to choose, to paint with certain colors, to adjust circumstance and truth. The harsh reality is that sin was present then, sin is present now, and sin will exist until Jesus returns. Their world was tainted, too. Very. Their need for Jesus was as great as ours. The culture may have been more gracious, more upright. What a wonderful thing. But their individual need was great. Very.

There is nothing new under the sun. Every generation and every culture is fundamentally the same: flawed by sin. If that doesn't encourage you to pray, "Even so, come Lord Jesus, come," nothing will.

It's time, don't you think?