The Word in the Wings

The Word in the Wings  > From the studio: great are God’s deeds

From the studio: great are God's deeds

By: KAYA WEAVER & COMPANY ARTISTS

The mission of Glorify Performing Arts is to present compelling, professional productions to encourage and empower Christians in their walk of faith, inspiring them to step forward boldly to impact the world. Throughout the 2023-24 season, the company artists have witnessed God acting through their work to move people’s hearts and spur them toward their own actions of reflecting, creating and peacemaking for God’s glory. Here are a few of their stories:

 

Throughout the season I have many opportunities to interact with audience members at GPA shows. Whether it is a school outreach, in-studio event, or MainStage performance, I love connecting with each individual who attends because I love hearing how God is at work in each heart. From the first Dance & Dialogue event we held in the fall through our final school outreach performance in the spring, there have been individuals who have come to share with me the impact our artistry has had on his or her life. Through watching the productions at GPA this season, God gave a woman the vision for how to resolve a conflict, God inspired an aunt to deeply reflect on scripture and encourage her nieces to do the same, a musician attended and said he wanted his music to be used to glorify God, and a dancer was deeply moved and desired to create her own work to connect to the Lord. These are just 4 examples of the POWER of what God can do through the arts; it is moments like these that compel me to continue creating and sharing my work for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Melody Mendoza, Executive & Artistic Director, Resident Choreographer

 

Oikia especially has been a source of impactfulness and joy this season. Getting to hear the raw reactions of children to our silly, but meaningful story, listening to them connect the dots and learn biblical wisdom, and witnessing their childlike faith and joy has reminded me of why I pursue this career and this company. One performance in particular stands out to me. It was lunch break the day after the performance, and we were busy focusing on the next performance, the next choreography to learn, when Melody stopped us to say that the teachers at the school had emailed to let all of us know that the children spent the rest of the day after we had left “playing Oikia:” dancing, building houses on rock and sand, and putting on their own performances for the Lord. I was deeply touched by the fact that God had used someone like me to impact these children, to create ripples in the water that traveled further than I may ever see.

Aleksa Lawry, Apprentice

 

The outward impact that these artists have on audiences begins with the work God is doing in their own hearts to build them up in faith as they serve God through their art. This season, God has revealed his love, peace, and presence to the dancers through their work and through dedicated times of seeking God. Here are some of their stories:

 

There have been many incredible moments throughout this season that I have felt God’s presence both in the studio and onstage. There is one in particular I will always remember and come back to in times where I feel hopeless. The company performed Alive in Us last fall and I had the opportunity to be a part of several different dances in that show. Me and two other dancers performed to the song “Rebel Heart” by Lauren Daigle and this piece represented one of the fruits of the Spirit- self control. I was dancing a specific part in the piece where I reached up to the ceiling then presented my arms and hands upward and paused. I became overwhelmed with tears and immediately felt God’s presence. It was a joyful and comforting feeling that I have never felt on stage before. In the lyrics at this moment she sings “I give it all to you.”  I felt as though I was surrendering everything I had for the Lord and he was accepting me for who I was. I feel so blessed to be part of a dance company that creates these moments to reflect and feel God’s presence through the medium of dance.

Gabrielle Byrnes, Corps de Ballet

 

This season has been such an incredible one, with God being so evident through all of it as I look back over the past year. One event in particular stands out … at one of our performances of our fall MainStage show, that involved three challenging pieces of repertoire, we were having our usual company class onstage to warm up before the show. Melody was leading the class, but she suddenly had to leave the auditorium to let one of our crew members into the theater. Left without any particular exercise to do and the music still playing, us dancers looked at each other and said, “Let’s improv!” As we danced to the worship song that Melody left on, I felt a tangible sense of peace settle over all of us as we moved our bodies individually and yet together to worship the Lord. When Melody returned, she and several other people stayed at the back of the auditorium to watch us, and when the song finally ended I wasn’t the only one who was almost in tears. Looking back, I can see how God used that moment to show us that He had placed His hands on us to protect us as we prepared to perform, and He gave us the peace that comes when we are able to fully and freely trust Him with all of us.

Julia Dutill, Apprentice

 

What good work has God done in your life in this season? How has God invited you to participate in God’s mission in the world? When has God revealed his peace, love, or presence to you?

Let’s give thanks to the Lord in the words of Psalm 111 for the wonderful things God has done this season!

 

1 Hallelujah! I will thank YHWH with my whole heart

in the assembly of the upright and the congregation.

2 Great are YHWH’s deeds,

sought for all their delights;

3 his works are majesty and splendor,

and his righteousness stands forever.

4 He has made remembrance by his wonders.

YHWH is gracious and compassionate.

5 He has given food to those who fear him;

his covenant will be remembered forever.

6 He has told to his people the strength of his deeds

by giving them the inheritance of the nations.

7 The deeds of his hand are true and just;

all his precepts are confirmed.

8 They are supported forever and ever;

they are done faithfully and uprightly.

9 He has sent out a ransom for his people;

he has commanded his covenant forever.

Holy and awesome is his name.

10 The beginning of wisdom is fear of YHWH;

prudence is good for all its doers.

His praise stands forever.

 

***

Scripture quotations in this post are my own translation.

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