There is a theatre joke that I love: What do you call an actor with out techies (those are the people who wear black all the time, and do things off-stage)…What do you call an actor without techies? Someone standing alone in the dark, naked, trying to emote. What do you call a techie without an actor? Unemployed.
As someone who has worked both on and off stage in various respects, I can say that the joke is funny from both sides of the curtain, according to how you tell it. But it picks at a source of tension in the theatre world. In some theatres, there is little respect between cast and crew. Actors have been known to treat crew as if they were second-class. And in response, crew see actors as unskilled, stupid, vain and a general nuisance.
This was the dynamic that came to mind as I read the second chapter of the book of Ephesians. Paul, as usual, packs plenty in to this little chapter, but one of the things he gets into is the animosity that arose in the early church between believers who were originally Jewish, and those who were previously Gentile. Just like theatre artists who divide themselves into unhelpful categories, the early Christians found a way do divide up into two groups so they could argue about who was better, more important or favored by God.
Theatre is a collaborative art. Even when someone does a “one man” or “one woman” play, there are most certainly several more artists involved. You simply can’t do theatre totally alone. And I think that’s at the heart of what Paul is getting at in the middle of the chapter when he says that “he made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall”. It is a lie to say that one part of the Church can function divorced from the rest, as it is a lie to say that it only takes one person to create theatre.
When have you been tempted to believe that you could do something on your own, only to discover that it was a lie?