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As a child, I was first fascinated by theatrical productions not because of the performances, but because of the sets.  Now, more than ever, and after several years in professional and community theatre, I am fascinated by the craft of theatrical scenic design and execution.

I am currently in a stage show, a musical, and am once more enthralled by the art of “set design” and construction.  The designers and builders in this current show have done a fantastic job creating a workable “forest” of trees, with some creative material and lights…it IS really something to see, and fun to act on.

To sit in an audience and KNOW, in your mind, that the space you are looking at is simply a box open to the audience, but what you see is a lavish, marble-paneled palace interior, or a forest, or a village green…that kind of “suspension of belief” is a skill and somewhat mysterious gift given to designers who often need to be engineers of sorts as well.

The process of making one thing look like another and putting the audience in a frame of mind, sucking them into the story, is still a wonderful experience for me.

When one takes a trip backstage to see the “magic” revealed, the experience can be, as it is for me and some others, an even more fascinating time.  However, for others, the magic is gone once they realize that what they see is not the truth: that brick wall is a façade of a quarter-inch plastic…that tree is made of papier-mâché, as are the solid-looking-weather-worn stones.  The sky?  Material with blue light on it…and the stars, merely electronics.

The  papier-mâché tree wouldn’t stand a light rain, much less a storm.  The house has only 3 sides and is made of cardboard, some would, some paint…no one in their right mind would actually want to LIVE there.  The stones wouldn’t support a small animal, much less be shelter or foundation for more building.  The set is only a reproduction and real only to the audience…and much of that is in their own minds.

INTEGRITY.  The word describes what is incorruptible, sound and complete.  Integrity is something that truly is, on the inside, what it appears to be on the outside.  If it looks like a tree or a stone, or a brick wall, on the outside…INTEGRITY demands that it BE a tree, or stone, or brick wall on the inside.

A related word, INTEGRAL, suggests completeness, wholeness…trueness.  It’s root from a practice, in Roman days, of filling in the cracks of poorly made, or not so fine, marble columns with wax so that they would appear more perfect (more “integral”).  Of course, later, the hot sun would melt the wax and the buyer would realize that the “good deal on columns” was a bad deal for his house.

Are you what you appear to be?  Do all of us present an “audience side” to those we want to please or “perform for”?  Sometimes we do.  Being “nice” is not what being a Believer & Follower is all about…being “good” is.  Nice is “façade”, put on for some, but not for others. “Good” implies that at our core we have the Spirit of God burning as a furnace and warming from the inside out.  The scripture warns us that a façade will not stand the test of life…eventually what is TRULY in our hearts will come through.  The papier-mâché of our own stage set will wear quickly away…and if there is nothing but chicken wire and cardboard behind it, our friends will know…worse, we will not have the strength to merely walk through life.

 Let’s build from the inside out…start with a good designer, our Heavenly Father.