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History Will Remember This Person

This morning a bird woke me up, and it wasn't to a pleasant song. It's getting colder up here in Lake Arrowhead and the bird has the dream to get inside our warm little cabin. Let me rephrase that, she's had this dream for about a week now.

The problem isn't so much her dream, as I can't blame her wanting to escape the cold and join us. The problem is the way she's going about it.

For the last week, she's been relentlessly charging the window over and over again. I'm not sure when she'll realize that the window will never give way, but I hope she discovers it soon. It's a waste of time and I can't imagine it's good for her beak!


This week, at LifeHouse Theater, we opened "It's a Wonderful Life!" It's a musical adaptation of the movie I grew up watching every Christmas. The story centers on the ambitious George Bailey who all of his life has dreamed of traveling the world, leaving little Bedford Falls, and doing "something big and important."

But as you may know, things don't always go as planned. At an important crossroad in the story, George must choose between his dream or the needs of his people.


I once heard David Kern of the Circe Institute say that we're all hard-wired to long for glory. And Joshua Gibbs writing for Circe Institute has made a similar point. In his article,"Stop Condemning the Pursuit of Glory," he writes, "Christians often speak derisively of 'seeking glory,' but there is little in the classical tradition upon which to base such condemnations." Gibbs also makes the point that there is an appropriate type of glory we should seek and an inappropriate kind as well. It has to do with the "station in one's life." Very interesting.

This reminds me of a moving passage in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus turns to the disciples and asks them what they had just been talking about. At this, I imagine the disciples turned red because they were arguing about who was the greatest. What's interesting is that Jesus does not rebuke them for their desire to be great, he rebukes for the way they are trying to get there.

"If anyone would be first," Jesus tells them, "he must be last of all and a servant of all" (Mark 9:35). In other words, the path to greatness, or we might insert "glory," is not what you think it is. The way to be great is to serve.

I hate to spoil "It's a Wonderful Life!" (you really should have already seen the movie!), but I need to. George Bailey sets aside his dream of traveling the world and his desire for importance for the sake of his people in Bedford Falls.


What George Bailey didn't see coming, and what Jesus knew all along, is that history doesn't forget the true servant. History forgets those, who like the bird outside my window, relentlessly pursue their dreams ignoring the cry of those who needed them.

But in God's world, it's very hard to forget the servants, because whether they know it or not, they are the ones who are "big and important."


Dane is President of Stage & Story and cast chaplain at LifeHouse Theater in Redlands, CA.

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