A Summer jazz festival on someone's back lawn in Orford, Suffolk, brought out the garden chairs, the picnic baskets and the hats!
Recreating the scene caused me to analyse a little what it means to be an audience. In a similar way to the coffee shop experience, the question is about whether one is there to simply receive - observing and listening, remaining on the outside - or is it more about participating - entering into the spirit of the performance, reacting with feelings and emotions, responding with applause and cheers?
Certainly the performance would be rather empty without an audience, but then there are those who object to too much participation, which causes a distraction.
Perhaps it is more of an exchange, with the performers being given their space to give of themselves, without undue interruption, while the audience have their own, necessary, moment in which to respond. A performance is not a performance without an audience and, even in a relatively passive way, we are essential.
Similarly, in relation to the performance that is creation, there is a need to give God his space to do what he desires, but we are also participants responding and sharing in what is going on. What we should not do is take on the role of the performer, the Creator. But entering into all that is going on in our world we have our essential role. God is on his stage, while we appreciate and are moved.
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