Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Terrance KleinJuly 25, 2018

When did you last eat? Something is surely strange in your life if you cannot answer that question. We are quite accustomed to the idea that we must regularly eat and drink to survive. Yet often the most foundational facts about our humanity are overlooked simply because they are too basic to be easily noted. They are the backdrop of life. To be human is to rely on what is outside of ourselves—in this case, nourishment—in order to be human. We are dependent.

Theologically, we call ourselves creatures. It is our acknowledgment that our origin, our destiny and our sustenance lies beyond us. If circumstances were different—something we can easily imagine even if we would prefer not to—even the wealthiest among us would die without being able to receive and to absorb food and water.

So our bodies are dependent; we cannot exist without drawing nourishment from outside ourselves. The same is true of our souls. We are spiritually dependent. We draw significance, we find sustenance, from our surrounding worlds. Put another way, we grow into who we are by what we learn, by what we experience. We need inspiration and meaning to survive. We may well live confused and conflicted lives, but we cannot live without some sense of purpose. We cannot stop searching for what is meaningful because our spirits depend upon meaning as surely as our bodies feed upon food.

We may well live confused and conflicted lives, but we cannot live without some sense of purpose.

All of this would still be true even if Christ had never lived, even if the Father had never sent him into our world. In feeding the multitudes, Christ reveals one reality by means of another. Calling himself the Bread of Life, Christ claims that he is the nourishing center of our spiritual creaturehood. All that is deeply, truly meaningful for us he draws into himself. He does not cancel our worlds of meaning; Christ crowns them. One might say that in him all that is best in the secular becomes truly sacred. Everything that inspires, illumines and extends human life, Christ calls into himself.

Think of how many men and women have drawn strength from a secular song, such as that produced by the legendary Broadway team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. They may not call themselves Christians; they may not recognize the deepest truth about themselves—that they are creatures dependent upon the one whom we call the creator—yet when they open their spirits, even to something as secular as a Broadway tune, by the work of the Spirit, they open themselves to the Father and the savior whom he sent into the world.

Our spirits depend upon meaning as surely as our bodies feed upon food.

In “Carousel,” when Julie’s deeply flawed lover Billie dies, her cousin Nettie sings to her:

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on in the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown,
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone!
You’ll never walk alone.

A lot of folk have found that song very meaningful. They have found nourishment for their souls in it.

Believers and non-believers need to understand something about each other. The believer needs to see that the grace that we Christians proclaim exists in the world beyond the church. It must exist there because of who Christ is, because of who the Father willed him to be: savior of the world. The very nature of the church is to gather in the grace that the Spirit sows in the world. So, when Rodgers and Hammerstein tell us “Don’t be afraid of the dark” and “You’ll never walk alone,” they set to music Gospel messages such as “The Lord be with you” or “Your sins are forgiven.” Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we Christians celebrate in word and sacrament the nourishing nature of the world that God the Father created for us, that God the Son redeemed for us.

And the unbeliever should realize that, like Broadway, the Gospel corresponds to the deepest desires of the human heart. To borrow again from Rodgers and Hammerstein—this time from the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella”—some might consider Broadway a place

Full of zanies and fools
Who don’t believe in sensible rules,
And won’t believe what sensible people say,
And because these daft and dewy eyed
Dopes keep building up
Impossible hopes
Impossible things are happening
Every day.

But if Broadway feeds our souls, does that make the proclamation of the Gospel and the celebration of its sacraments superfluous? Far from it. Yes, Broadway speaks to our deeply human desires. The unbeliever wishes that the world was like that—maybe even hopes that the world is like that. The believer knows that is how the world is because the believer knows Christ. The Gospel validates and guarantees our hopes for the world and our lives within it. We believe that Christ fulfills what Broadway promises. He is the center of history, who draws all of it into himself. So, it may be a secular promise, but we believe Christ has made of it something sacred:

At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark.

Readings: 2 Kings 4:42-40 Ephesians 4:1-6 John 6:1-15

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
thomas blake
5 years 8 months ago

America has the worst training device within the developed nations. Our instructors now not train, their simply babysitters. The liberal politically correct morons have taken over. It's unheard of to fail a pupil in recent times, rather than annoying True Assignment Help Online approximately truly teaching, the colleges fear approximately retention of students and such. However the fault lies with us dad and mom, due to the fact we've got allowed this to appear, we need to prevent electing college board officials who have validated they do not care approximately the pupil, but appearances.

Bill Crouch
5 years 8 months ago

Beautifully written! However, because your lovely article appeared in my email in the "Broadway Briefing" that I receive every day, I wanted to let you know, that I believe that Broadway fulfills what all religious beliefs promise, not the other way around. Or, better yet, creativity in all of its forms is a spiritual enterprise. Whether one believes or not, we can live together in a loving and profoundly spiritual way within the Broadway Community.

Abdul Kaleem
5 years 8 months ago

Very well written article. I would like to say that when it comes to spirituality, nothing can beat the power of authentic publications. However, In the new era, it’s impossible to develop without accepting the new things and Broadway is one of that. I truly agree that Broadway feeds our soul and provide us all the necessary nourishments our soul need but we can not deny the fact that gospel is what we have grown with it’s the part of life of so many Christians around the globe. Broadway is advantageous for new generation it can help in bringing them closer to the religion as it’s a great way of attracting them because they can relate to it. They are busy with different activities in studies and assignment help and find no time for religion. Broadway it what make them understand the true essence of their religion.

cyrus miley
5 years 8 months ago

What a wonderful and engaging book. He's taking me back. The first live game I saw as a little girl was Oklahoma at the East theatre in Chicago. Very Write My Essay Guru interesting and easy to read.

The latest from america

U.S. Catholics are more polarized than ever in how they view Pope Francis, even though majorities on both ends of the political spectrum have a positive view of the pope, according to a new survey.
In this special round table episode of “Inside the Vatican,” America Editor-in-Chief Father Sam Sawyer and the Executive Director of Outreach, America’s LGBT Catholic resource, Michael O’Loughlin, join host Colleen Dulle for a discussion on the document “Dignitas Infinita” and the pastoral
Inside the VaticanApril 12, 2024
Miles Teller stars in a scene from the movie "Whiplash." (CNS photo/courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)
Played by Miles Teller, Andrew falls prey to an obsession so powerful that it robs us of the clarity or freedom to make good choices.
John DoughertyApril 12, 2024
In one way or another, these collections bear the traces of the divine, of the needful Christ.
Delaney CoyneApril 12, 2024