I had the honor to be the first person to play angel Gabriel in the Crystal Cathedral’s holiday spectacle, The Glory of Christmas. Although I am no longer airborne for over twenty years, I had a bird’s eye view of this unique pageant, as well as the Crystal Cathedral’s Glory of Easter. In addition to being angel Gabriel I also served as the production’s choreographer and assistant director. In light of the Crystal Cathedral’s financial crisis, I would like to offer some personal reflections and biblical insights that weigh heavily on my heart.
It’s with sadness that I have read articles detailing the financial crisis at the Crystal Cathedral. Many of their vendors who are owed wages are former colleagues, and they made significant contributions to the Glories ministries.1Timothy 5:18 makes clear the importance of compensation as it states, “The worker deserves his wages.”
One vendor who is owed wages is the animal trainer. She was an important person since the live animals played an integral role in the Glory of Christmas and Glory of Easter’s re-creation of the biblical stories. The musicians, who were also owed back wages, brought joyful praise to these semi-annual productions through their moving music. And while there is a special place in my heart for the productions angels and dancers, I find myself most often thinking of the hundreds of faithful volunteers who selflessly served in front and behind the scenes year-after-year in this marvelous ministry.
In addition to working with the dedicated volunteers artistically it was my joy to teach Bible studies to the Glories cast. These Bible studies helped to foster faith as we discussed the various people, places, and culture of the biblical stories we interpreted through these holiday spectacles. Some of scenes that were re-enacted in the Crystal Cathedral’s Glory of Easter production relayed God’s concerns regarding the attitudes and practices of financial matters. Among these scenes were the biblical accounts of Christ angrily overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple (Mark 11:15), and the touching narrative of the widow’s mite (Mark 12: 41-44).
The preparation that went into the annual Glory of Christmas and Glory of Easter productions was exhaustive. Numerous artistic and technical skills were woven together by a broad base of gifted individuals who contributed to the success of these inspiring ministries. My own preparation for ministry at the Crystal Cathedral included attending seminary to earn a graduate degree in Theology which helped me to more fully understand God’s purpose for the arts in his church.
My education has served me well since leaving the Crystal Cathedral as it has provided context to my work in the Glory of Christmas and Glory of Easter, which I have revisited by sharing some of my unique experiences with my college students. While I am concerned with the Crystal Cathedral’s financial crisis, I carry in my heart fond memories of treasured times that I have shared with the thousands of individuals whose lives the Glories ministries touched with God’s love. The glory of God lives on in the hearts of those who love him and Christ’s Church will forever hold the certain place that it is meant to hold in our uncertain world.
Bharath, Deepa, “Musicians Latest To Seek Payment From Crystal Cathedral,” Published May 7, 2010, The Orange County Register.
Phan, Katherine T., “Crystal Cathedral Gets $46 Million Offer From Chapman University,” Published July 6, 2011, The Christian Post.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, Th.D, Ph.D., The Ryrie Study Bible, New International Version, Moody Press, Chicago, 1986.