March 3, 2014
Gabriel Ramirez recently left the Ragtown acting troupe to pursue his career in Wisconsin, having earned a doctorate in engineering. He is a brilliant young man, obviously, and blessed us with his heart and talent for acting over the course of several years. Not only that, but he faithfully made time in his demanding schedule to serve as the sound engineer for our concerts.
The walls of one of the stairwells in the back of the theater is covered in signatures and notes from the people who have performed on our stage. Some of the greats of gospel music, like Ivan Parker, Guy Penrod, the Hoppers, the Booth Brothers and many others have signed the wall, alongside the names and notes of appreciation and encouragement from all the actors from all the plays. None is more special than the note Gabriel left when he finished his final performance as Cornelius Houchen in “Say Nicklaus” this past December.
He said, “Ragtown is a place of healing. I know, because it healed me.”
Gabriel is a private man, and I don’t know what the healing was that occurred in his life. But it gives me such encouragement to read that sweet, humble note from someone who gave so much of his time, energy, and offered himself so completely to this ministry.
Gabriel is right. Ragtown is a place of healing. It always has been, for all of us.
I’m not talking about physical healing. What happens at Ragtown is far deeper than that. People come here expecting to be entertained, perhaps to be encouraged or even inspired. We perform the music and the plays to the very best of our ability. But what God does is infinitely more. And it’s not anything anyone can take credit for.
The spirit of a person of faith is safe, secured, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, but as long as we live on earth, the soul remains exposed. That is where the world, the flesh, and the devil relentlessly attack…inflicting countless wounds to the mind of a believer, and thereby assaulting our emotion and will day after day.
Truth is all that will heal those wounds. They are always inflicted by deception, accusation, and the multitude of lies in the enemy’s arsenal. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” as the old song says to a hurting world. He is the Truth.
God has led us to present Jesus on the stage at Ragtown Gospel Theater. Not Jesus plus our talent, nor Jesus plus our anything. Just Jesus…our Savior and Lord. We have tried to remain steadfast in that mission in the words of the songs and the plays.
After we lost Gabriel Ramirez, I wondered who could possibly touch his ability to portray Jesus in this challenging production. Of course, God had someone. That role in “Gethsemane” is remarkably performed by a new member of our troupe, Kyle Bullock. We see the great love of Jesus so beautifully expressed by him in words straight out of Scripture.
The character of the enemy is also vividly exposed in Glenn Polk’s chilling portrayal. As you can imagine, that has not come without repercussion.
God blesses us with the greatest people in the world walking through our doors on Fridays and Saturdays. My prayer is that the Truth presented at Ragtown will always be used to minister to the wounds of the saints, and we can leave healed, renewed, and encouraged with the Truth that Jesus is Lord, and we are His. And He loves us beyond comprehension.
Pray for Ragtown as we continue to present this powerful message. Gather friends and family and come. You will see just how dear we are to our Lord.
Only 6 weekends left!