The extra, he seeks out My Man on the set and in broken English tells him, “I did not think when I first saw you that you could be the Director. You were not yelling, you were not screaming. In my years of being an actor, I have never worked with a Director who did not yell at me. But you…”
Here he pauses to point a finger at My Man as if to make sure the point is not missed.
“You, you do not yell. And then I see that yes, you are the Director. And this is amazing. Thank you.”
Like the one leper in ten who went back to find the Carpenter-Man after being healed, this extra out of dozens comes back to say thank you.
We came to Malta to make a movie that yeah, if we’re honest, we’re praying speaks to the millions with strength for tomorrow, hope for the uncertain future and assurance in this journey of faith. Yet right now, in the hidden places of a set a thousand miles from home, we’re doing something revolutionary. And we didn’t even know it.
My favorite rebel act? When My Man looks one actor in the eyes and tells him that he is enough. Not him with more dramatics, nor him because of his past roles, but simply that he, the man, is enough. Enough for this role, enough for this movie, enough for this call on his life and invitation into the Kingdom building that he doesn’t even quite see.
And this man, he can’t hardly believe it. Because who has ever taken such a bold stance as to tell him that he is enough as he is, without any of the extra? No one.
Yeah, we’re doing something revolutionary here on this tiny island but it’s not the thing we expected.
We came in with ideas and plans and dreams of how this all would go and wouldn’t you know the thing that is turning heads and changing hearts is the simple acts done in kindness, with humility and gratitude. Because us, yeah, we’re just grateful to be standing on this patch of ground and I wish I could tell every member of the cast and crew that it’s a daily humbling to be here. And that we’re grateful they would join us in the telling of the story and the building of our own story. Grateful that they are giving their best work in the beating heat and the suffocating humidity, amidst the dust and the rubble.
So we scratch our heads perplexed that anyone would ever scream at these band of warriors who make the movies come together. A director or a writer, they play a big part but they’re just one. Any person fails at their role and the whole thing stumbles along.
This treating people like you want to be treated, it’s not exactly rocket science and yet it’s leaving people around us slack-jawed. But then the words of the Carpenter-Man have a tendency to be that – simple and yet life changing.
And I’m wondering, if maybe the most revolutionary thing we can do is to be kind?
Because kindness isn’t limited to race, to socio-economic positions or pecking orders or even political parties In fact, doesn’t kindness shine most brightly, most glaringly, when it defies those man-made barriers and rains down in the most unexpected ways?
What would it change if today we, they, the world, started acting with more kindness?
I’m not talking some hippy-tie-dye-peace sign loving blindness that tries to pretend we aren’t all different and disagreeing and struggling.
No, radical kindness that changes people is rooted in seeing the other as bearing the fingerprints of our Abba, created for a purpose and maybe, just maybe, not so different from you?
It’s the kindness that calls us to pour out when we want to take, to give when we would rather hold back and to lay down my want for their need. Honestly, it’s the kindness that doesn’t come natural to me and I’m preaching to myself here.
Preaching to a heart that gets so tired with doing small things in love every day.
Preaching to a heart that gets discouraged by the meanness and injustice in this world, across headlines, and in comment threads.
Preaching to a heart that wonders more times than I should how my small act changes any of the pain, the hurt, the horror raining down on so many.
And maybe you too?
Maybe you also get tired and discouraged and feel like your acts of kindness are just drops in a leaking bucket?
But maybe we only see the trail of flowers watered by the constant drip when we’re on the other side of Heaven and the hidden things are known.
And maybe we’re sending ripples out and changing lives and making history right now with these revolutionary, bold acts of being kind in a world growing harder by the day. Maybe we’re the ones keeping it from completely drying up and we don’t even know it.
We’re here making this movie for 23 days. Twenty-three long, hot and dusty days where kindness is watering souls that have spent years parched. Kindness not of our own making but from the Life-Giver who is pouring out through us and turning the small acts into streams in a desert.
He’s doing a new thing on this set and maybe He’s calling each of us to do a new thing in our corners of this soul-thirsty world?
Can you imagine the life that would burst forth if people of all corners started with simple acts of kindness?
Politicians reaching out to extend kindness across battle-drawn party lines
Those of one race reaching out in to invite in to their homes individuals, families, strangers and would-be-friends of other races.
Refugees finding outstretched arms in their new neighborhoods.
Flood victims getting meals and money and opened homes.
People of the Cross in one denomination joining in fellowship with People of the Cross in other denominations, because really, we’re all following the same Carpenter-Son.
Yeah, none of those acts on their own is going to get you any sort of Facebook following, front-page status or standing ovation. At least not on this side of Heaven.
There are angels and saints and a whole crowd of witnesses watching us closely, cheering us on in our stumbling and running.
They know a secret too many forget: our small act of kindness could end up changing a soul and raining down grace on this world.