|The Fruit Seller|
As Canadians in the 21st century, we are used to hearing about Ancient Greece being foundational to our ideas of democracy and government, and we also hear a lot about a familiarity with the Greek myths being helpful to understand literature, but we don't hear a lot about the influence of Ancient Greece on the early church. At Jubal we wanted to explore this time period through a Christian lense, and examine how Greek values complemented and conflicted with biblical truth, and also gain an understanding of the culture where the gospel was first presented by Paul.
Early in our Jubal season, we were challenged with the appropriateness of Christians exploring this period of history - and with good reason. The cities of Corinth and Ephesus were noted for their immorality, anyone who knows what an Oedipus complex is understands the inappropriateness of that story for children, even examining pictures of Greek statuary for the art component of Jubal would be tricky. Wouldn't it be better to try something less controversial?
We discussed, and prayed, and concluded that the benefits of study in this area far outweighed the risks. Yes, we would be careful, but we would not be afraid. We did not want to be Christians who withdrew from the culture, but Christians who engaged the culture and redeemed it. It is true, our children would benefit from learning about the Ancient Greek civilization, their reading would have richness from the Greek myths and fables we studied, they would gain a greater understanding of literary allusions, but they would also realize the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform people trapped in sin. Ancient Greece was pagan through and through. If you take away their marble statues, and put cars, designer clothes, leather couches and large RRSP funds in their place you might think there's not a lot of difference between their time and now. And that was a powerful message for the children to learn and meditate on as they practiced their lines - how the good news of salvation that Paul brought could free those who were enslaved to bad habits, fear, greed, materialism, and worse.
So I am very proud of my children for their parts in the production. I am proud of my students whom I taught some of the choral speaking selections and the closing choir piece. All the students gave a great performance, they worked hard this year and it showed. I am grateful to my husband and other husbands of our leadership team who encouraged and supported us, and helped us to think through some of the tangles we encounted with the subject matter. I am thrilled to be a part of team with such talent, and who work so well together. But as I think back on this Jubal year, and this production, I am grateful beyond words to the God who orchestrated the salvation of "Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others" in Ancient Athens, and a woman named Anna in Port Robinson.