by Cynthia Hellman
Since MoezArt doesn’t have a home of our own, there are a few theatre traditions we have to eschew for the time being. One of the more fascinating traditions is that of the ghost light. Traditionally, theaters place a single-bulb floor light in the middle of the stage and leave it lit throughout the night. They’re sometimes referred to as equity lamps/lights.
Practically speaking, this aids anyone left in the building in safely navigating from Point A to Point B. Taking an unexpected detour into the orchestra pit would be a bummer, and would probably result in more than a metaphorically broken leg. Depending on the facility, it can be tough to ensure everyone is out the building. A simple light left on provides consideration for any stragglers or late-night crews working to meet their deadline.
Superstition suggests leaving a ghost light burning wards off spirits connected to the theatre, or possibly allows light for the theater’s ghost to see or even perform on the stage. Since MoezArt Productions performs largely in churches, let’s hope the only ghost taking up residence is the Holy Spirit!
With few exceptions, theaters still practice this ritual. As a Christ-follower, it can be easy to dismiss pagan practices like ghost lights. Who cares? Leave a light on for safety, but don’t call it a ghost light or give any credence to the stories, amiright? I’m going to suggest something a little more radical. Instead of ignoring this compelling tidbit of theater history, let’s flip the script. Let’s you and me be the ghost light. Not the ghost; we aren’t going full Casper Mode on our host churches. That would just be weird. Let’s be the ghost light. MoezArt’s mission is to glorify God through the arts. In order to do that we have to shine brightly for Him in a dark and fallen world. Light is powerful! It’s the very first thing God spoke into the dark nothingness in Genesis 1, and He’s still calling us to shine truth where there is spiritual darkness. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Every “house” we perform in, every time the lights dim and the curtains are drawn aside, from the first line to the final one, we are presenting the hope of Christ. We don’t hide under a proverbial basket. We are unashamedly His. We don’t shine for our own glory. We shine for Him and Him alone in order to usher others into His loving arms. When it all boils down, we have one job on this earth. There are myriad of ways to go about it, and theatre is one of those delightful ways. Let’s make our days count, and choose to shine brightly in a darkened, soul-starved world. Keep your light blazing, thespians!