It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like World’s End (Jack and the Genre-nauts Act 23)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like World’s End’!”

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Best_Nature_www.laba.ws

[The curtain rises on a backdrop of fields of ice. A sign atop a candy-cane-striped post reads “North Pole, 0.5 miles”, pointing toward the copse of Christmas trees on the stage’s opposite side. Entering from the wings are Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki and Allyn-a-Dale as Fenrir, the Antichristmas Wolf in Jack Snow’s body.]

Lute/Loki [voice forbidding, smile stretched wide ]: Now’s the day, an’ now’s the hour;

See the Antichristmas lour,

And the Trickster’s rise to power:

Ragnarok unleashed!

Allyn/Fenrir: A stirring preamble, Father.

Lute/Loki: Like it? Modeled it after some poem or another by that Scot fellow, Burns.

Allyn/Fenrir [lips curled back in a wolfish grin ]: Fitting, that. For presently, this frozen world will blaze.

[Meanwhile, among the Christmas trees, out peek Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED, along with Will Scarlet as Jack Snow in the Mad Hatter’s body.]

Annabelle [stage whispering ]: This is it. The final boss battle. Sonic vs. Robotnik. Link vs. Demon Lord Ganon. Jack Snow vs. Antichristmas Beast/Wolf/son of Loki.

Will/Jack [turning to Annabelle in aggravation ]: What are you on about?

Annabelle [mumbling ]: Video game stuff. Sorry, I saw parallels.

Sir Wilbur: Never mind it, Jack. What’s the plan?

Will/Jack: Plan? I fear that’s a bit beyond me, at the moment. I’m Jack Snow in spirit, but Hatter in the head. What does his mad mind know of battle strategy?

Annabelle: Does this mean we’re screwed?

Sir Wilbur: It’s beginning to look like it. See there!

[The other side of the stage, Allyn has raised his arms high. Head thrown back, he speaks in a howling chant.]

Allyn/Fenrir: In the name of all evil things anti-Christmas,

I summon the fire of sky!

Flaming color, rain down ruin!

Raze and blaze, yon Northern Lights!

[A flickering green glow appears above, glowing redder the lower it descends. Lute’s cruel laugh has scarcely begun gaining momentum when Will plunges out of the trees, hand thrust up toward the lights.]

Will/Jack [rapidly, but with authority ]: Light of North’s nocturnal noon,

Ruin you shall not rain.

Heatless fire, arctic blaze,

In the sky remain.

[The reddening lights halt, then rise again, their harmless green hue returning.]

Allyn/Fenrir [with a snarling sneer ]: Counter rhymes, is it? That’s a game we could be at all day, Santa Claus. Unless you mean to sing my doom with carols as you did before?

Will/Jack: That depends. Would it work?

Lute/Loki [wagging a finger ]: Not so easy as that. Children of the Trickster were never fated to die the same way twice. It will take more than the power contained in a song to kill him. More than the power of Christmas itself!

Will/Jack [thoughtful, sober ]: Possibly so. But what of the power behind Christmas?

Allyn/Fenrir [eyes narrow ]: What do you mean?

Will/Jack [advancing ]: The first and greatest Christmas gift. A baby born to die. A saving sacrifice. This do I wield against you, Antichristmas: The sacrifice, made in the truest Christmas spirit, of Artifice Cheshirecott – a mad hatter who so loved his lost friend that he gave up his body to put an end to your wickedness one more time.

Allyn/Fenrir [ashen and wide-eyed ]: No… [clutches throat, choking and gagging ] Nooo…!

Lute/Loki: Fenrir! Son!

[But it’s too late. Allyn crumples to the ground, a thick haze of steam rising up around him. When the vapor clears, his body is gone. Dropping to his knees, Lute lets loose a shriek of anguish.]

Lute/Loki: A thousand curses upon you, Jack Snow! All I wanted for Christmas was vengeance! To destroy the legacy of the one who killed my son!

Will/Jack: Unfortunately, Loki, you’ve been a very naughty god this year. For that, you get the Shadow, black as coal. [arm raised skyward again, he calls out ]

Shadow of the hatter mad,

Fly to finish to Fenrir’s dad!

[A formless darkness with manic, cat-like eyes and a wide, crescent moon grin flits over the white backdrop.]

Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Ah, looky – it’s Loki! My own match in mischief! Now, what’s to be done about you?

Annabelle [stepping out of the trees with a noisy “ahem” ]: If it’s all the same to everyone else, I may have a solution.

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“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Kelton de la Cruz and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Demon Lord Ganon’ and lyrics from “Scots Wha Hae’ by Robert Burns.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

“Musicianary” or “Spreading the Word”

No, I did not make today’s theme word up. I heard it about a month ago, when my church had a musical guest by the name of Bethini Williams. Impressed by her performance and engaging persona (I think I recall thinking her outfit was fly, too…), I acted almost completely out of character by chatting a bit with her after service, even going so far as to divulge my super confidential contact information. (Y’know, like the number anyone could look up in a phone book. Top secret stuff.)

            Conversing on the phone a few days later, she asked at one point if I knew anyone I thought should connect with her and perchance get on board with her music ministry in some way. My mind totally blanked on names, and it was only after the phone exchange was over that I remembered, hey, I don’t have to know anyone: I have a blog! So I figure I’ll pull the sitting-quietly-in-my-room version of shouting from the rooftops, and trust that whoever’s supposed to see this and have a part to play, God’ll bring ‘em here and stir their hearts and all that other good God stuff he gets up to.

            Without further preamble, then, my interview with Bethini Williams!

So, Bethini, what exactly is a “musicianary”, and when/how did you first get started in this work?

            A musicianary is someone who uses music to share the hope of Christ with other people. I had never heard the term myself until I spent a summer using music as a vehicle for the gospel. It was kind of like “Making the Band”. None of us knew each other before the summer, but the band gelled and we toured the Midwest sharing the gospel through music. It was life-changing, and it was a perfect combination of my natural instincts: music, travel, Jesus.

            After that summer I returned to college with a fresh perspective, and after graduating I decided to serve with Impact Music, which is a division of The Impact Movement.

Could you tell us a bit about the Impact Movement?

            Yes! The Impact Movement is a college-based movement that seeks to transform culture while creating young African American leaders who can do the same. Impact Music seeks to develop the next generation of urban artists to take the gospel to the world through creative outreach and excellent worship.

You write some of your own songs, right? a) What’s your creative process like? b) Does your music all tend toward a certain sound, or is there a lot of variety?

            The creative process is different every time. Sometimes it’s like a song slams into me and I actually have to work with musicians to figure out the music that I hear in my head. Other times, I listen to an instrumental and reflect and write what comes to mind, or browse through notes in my journal or on my phone as a catalyst. Sometimes it’s done in an hour, sometimes it takes months. I try to relax and let it flow.

            My music is usually describes as “soulful”, and definitely has a mellow feel. But there is more variety than I would think falls under soul or neo-soul music. There is a semi-alternative feel, also. I make music that shares real life, and points people to Christ.

Which of your songs are your favorite, and why?

            At the moment, my favorite song is “As The World Turns”, which is a collaboration with Chris T. from Level 3:16. It talks about how each day there is so much going on in the world and it’s important to slow down. It also talks about the need to learn from each day, and how frustrating a dream deferred could be. We recently recorded it and it could end up on Level 3:16’s sophomore album! They are my family, and fellow musicianaries.

What’s one of your best memories since you’ve started doing this full time?

            One of the best memories I have is from talking to a girl after a concert in Ohio. During our set I talked a little about a frustrating relationship I had been in, and how low I felt after the breakup, before singing a song that talked about wishing you could get back the time you invested in someone. Afterwards she came up to me and shared that she was going through the same thing. So I got to talk to her about how I got through that time, and how central Jesus’ love was. I learned to see and value myself as Jesus did, and encouraged her to do the same. It was a really sweet moment. It’s the payoff for displaying your life in front of a group of strangers: Realizing that someone got hope.

What kind of gigs have you got planned for the coming months?

            At the end of May I will be at a training camp for college athletes where I will be leading praise and worship, as well as looking for opportunities to connect with the young women. I will likely also be a vocal coach for this summer’s band, so will spend 6 weeks helping a group of college students put their set together before they hit the road.

For folks out there who want to get involved, how can they support what you do?

            Truth is, I am only able to do this through other people! We are in this together. I have a team of partners who help provide the resources for me to travel and minister. For anyone who wants to hear more information, they can contact me at impactingmusic@yahoo.com.

Any last words (I ask in my most ominous voice)?

            Thank you, Danielle, for inviting me to be a part of this!!! You can see/hear a little of me and what I do in this video. This is from a duo that I traveled in a few years ago, SouLoved:

PerGoSeeMo Psalm 9

Psalm 9. 1 John 3:16, 19-21, 4:4, 10, 16-17, 5:6-11

God is greater than our hearts,

And he knows everything.

So let his Holy Spirit make the final call.

He’s greater than all.

Know that you belong to God

When you can show his love –

Love of the son who gave his life that we may live,

‘Cause that’s what love is.

And he loved us before our hearts knew how;

So we need not be afraid, but only learn to love him now.

We’ve been given a spirit greater than the world’s,

So let our consciences be clear; let us be bold and of good cheer.

God is greater than our hearts,

And he knows everything.

So let his Holy Spirit make the final call.

He’s greater than all.

Spirit, water, and the blood –

These three with God testify (and God cannot lie)

The son is who he claimed to be:

Our savior, the Christ

Who loved us before our hearts knew how;

So we need not be afraid, but only learn to love him now.

We’ve been given a spirit greater than the world’s,

So let our consciences be clear; let us be bold and of good cheer.

God is greater than our hearts,

And he knows everything.

So let his Holy Spirit make the final call.

He’s greater than all.

PerGoSeeMo Psalm 8

Psalm 8. 1 Timothy 2:5; John 3:16

            Join me on the in-between

Where author and creation meet

Together on the bridge you’ve stretched

As far as east is from the west.

            In the book is clearly seen

Creator’s love for what he’s made;

Of course he’d wish, and bring to be,

Rapport with us beyond the page.

            Earth and heaven far apart

As writing and reality;

No way this mortal one could start

To reach you, so you reached to me.

            Join me on the in-between

Where author and creation meet

Together on the bridge you’ve stretched

As far as east is from the west.

            You so loved the world you birthed,

You put yourself through agony,

That we who dwell upon your earth

Might share in your eternity.

            Now the honor mine to know

The one who dreamed me into being.

How many with dreams of their own

Would pay so dear for such a thing?

            Join me on the in-between

Where author and creation meet

Together on the bridge you’ve stretched

As far as east is from the west.