Posted by Craig Borlase on 10 December 2013

Playing Jesus is a challenge for any actor, but for Bruce Marchiano, taking on the role of the Son of God for the Visual Bible (back in the 90s), opened up a whole new view of life. There's a great interview with him here in which he describes his preparation for the audition, in which he had to tackle a scene where Jesus talks harshly to the pharisees:

"I thought, you know, it wasn't that he didn't like these guys. He loved them. He wasn't so much being harsh as desperately and passionately reaching out to help them.

"I explained that to the director, knowing full well that it was a great risk, because I had never seen it done that way before. Little did I know that six months earlier, when the director began working with the script, he felt the exact same thing, that this scene needs to be done in love."

Treating every scene as a love scene became Marchiano's guiding principle. And it worked. Not only was his performance compelling from start to finish, but his life was profoundly changed forever.

Though he might not have known it at the time, Marchiano was tapping into some ancient wisdom that was beautifully articulated by Francis of Assisi in a letter written in 1215 AD:

"We should not want to be in charge of others; we are to be servants, and should be subject to every human creature for God's sake (1Pet. 2:13). On all those who do this and endure to the last the Spirit of God will rest (cf. Is. 11: 2); he will make his dwelling in them and there he will stay, and they will be children of your Father in heaven (Mt. 5: 45) whose work they do. It is they who are the brides, the brothers and the mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. A person is his bride when his faithful soul is united with Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit; we are his brothers when we do the will of his Father who is in heaven (cf. Mt. 12: 50), and we are mothers to him when we enthrone him in our hearts and souls by love with a pure and sincere conscience, and give him birth by doing good. This, too, should be an example to others."

It is easy to assume that leadership looks a lot like being in charge. After all, once we've reached a point where we've amassed more knowledge, more experience, more power than others, why shouldn't we expect people to do what we say?

But like every other aspect of the Christian faith, the act of leading worship is best approached with love as our compass. We are here to serve, not to demonstrate expertise. We are here to acknowledge and celebrate the bride, brother and mother of the Lord within us all.

The next time you stand up to lead, look out and remember that you are singing amongst friends. That each of you is delighted in by God. That all you have to do is to serve and to love.

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