When I was a student in a drama workshop, the teacher spoke about the concept of ‘status’ in acting.
In improvisational theatre, status refers to the power difference in the relationship between two characters.
A character of a high status behaves dominantly towards a character of a lower status.
As actors, we needed to identify where our character stood, reflecting their social reality in our body language and reactions.
It made me think about how we – consciously or subconsciously – make decisions based on status in society.
When I visited India earlier this year, status was a big focus – sometimes uncomfortably so.
As Westerners, we were pampered; treated like kings and queens in some places.
India is driven by a system whereby castes are ranked in hierarchical order. These castes determine the behaviour of one member of society towards another.
Sadly, many children of lower caste struggle with an orphan spirit for years after they’ve been redeemed from the streets and looked after at the Christian orphanage we visited.
But they challenged us Westerners to consider what really matters.
And we started to consider that perhaps being clean, pampered, and wealthy matters far less than cleanness of heart, poverty of spirit, and true humility.
In India I saw joy, and heard singing and laughter amidst life stories of unimaginable pain and grief and loss.
I saw young girls kneeling in prayer, hands clasped, heads bowed… the rat-a-tat-tat of earnest requests flying upwards like fireworks to Jesus.
At the orphanage, I saw that inequality is imposed by culture and society, but reversed by Jesus.
All of us are born into either privilege or suffering, but when Jesus shows up, so does hope.
When you have nothing, you can still have everything if you meet Jesus.
And when you already have everything, you find a different kind of wealth in the process of giving yourself away.
You realise you’ve been given too much of the wrong things, and not enough of the right things… and your perspective shifts.
And social status doesn’t matter so much anymore – because God has given you a new name, a new status, and a new role as part of his royal family…
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)