Summer 2017

Listening for God on Broadway This Summer

If you step back and analyze it, a musical is an odd way to present stories about the human condition. People don’t really talk by singing to and at each other like they do in Hamilton or Oklahoma. But here’s the thing about a musical: you don’t step back and analyze it; you step in and immerse yourself in the music, dance, and sets. You do it best when you see the professionals in the great theatres like St. James in NYC or the Kennedy Center in DC. But you do it good enough when a local high school or community theatre performs their amateur versions.

As a young person, I was relatively content to compartmentalize: I could be deeply moved, even enthralled with the Sound of Music or West Side Story and never ask what they had to do with God. As I grew in my faith I grew in a desire to see some connections. If God is God, the inspirations for the story, songs, and production have their final source in him. If God is God, a completely secular picture of the human condition is incomplete, is closed off from some of the most important data of the situation. And in the other direction, if God is God, the gospel message about God seeking to recover those who belong to him needs to be told in a way that not only reaches the mind but also the heart.

Recently I asked the worshiping congregation to note their favorite Broadway musicals. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of answers. I started from that list, added a couple of my own favorites that weren’t on there and came up with the list below. Throughout the summer, we will hold in conversation these musicals and the scriptures as noted. The basic elements of our worship will be scaled back to the essential minimum to give us more time for the songs of these musicals to be presented by our musicians and guests.

As you look at the list, you may have special memories associated with one or more of the 12 musicals we will look at. If so, I would like to hear from you. Please hand me a note on Sunday morning or send an email to I look forward to this journey together as we listen for God on Broadway.

Pastor Lew


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