What Would Jesus Do?
In December of 2019, I purchased season tickets for Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., for my wife and me for 2020. After the coronavirus hit in early 2020, Silver Dollar City announced policy changes which included mask wearing indoors and out, social distancing, and attendance control measures which mandated reservations to visit the Park.
When I balked at these restrictions, Silver Dollar City personnel were very accommodating. If I did not visit the Park in 2020, my season tickets would automatically roll over to 2021. I chose to do that in the hope that the restrictions would be unnecessary by 2021. The good news is that the restrictions were lifted on May 15, 2021. The bad news is that we visited the Park on May 14, 2021 when social distancing mandates required long waits to get into theaters.
By 2 pm, we were discouraged at our inability to see any shows that in most years we might have been able to see multiple times in the same day.
Though we didn’t get to see Bluegrass headliners Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver like we planned, after leaving Silver Dollar City early, we did get to see JESUS. No, He did not come to Branson in the flesh, but the amazing story of Jesus’ 33 years on earth told in the New Testament comes to life twice a day at the palatial Sight & Sound Theater in Branson.
While schedule flexibility has its benefits, getting good last minute show tickets is not one of them. We ended up with seats near where the angel later began its descent from heaven to roll the stone away from the tomb of Jesus.
The theater has 2000 seats, but even from where we sat the view was excellent, perhaps better than those closer to the stage because of the massive dimensions of the theater.
As the lights dimmed and on stage the story started with the future disciples of Jesus bemoaning the poor results from a long day fishing, the two people with tickets for the empty seats directly behind my wife and I arrived. In the darkness behind us was jostling & seat-bumping as our new neighbors settled into their seats and tried to get comfortable. Shortly thereafter the crackling of cellophane food wrappers from the seats behind us began to compete with the dialogue on the stage. I began to struggle with the words of Jesus to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
Eventually, after Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount and fed the 5000 with a few loaves & fishes, the people behind us also got full. The only noise I heard from that point to intermission was their applause mingling with my applause at inspiring times throughout the performance.
As the lights came on for intermission, the man behind us leaned over tapped my wife on the shoulder.
“I would like to apologize to you”, he said. “I accidentally kicked your chair when I sat down. I have not been able to straighten my right knee since I was 18 years old”, which I estimated had been sometime in the latter years of the Eisenhower Administration. My wife’s mobility is also somewhat limited due to two titanium hips, two titanium knees, and a couple of bunion surgeries thrown in for good measure. My wife and the guy began to commiserate on the challenges of living with bad joints.
The earlier wrapper crackling incident was soon forgotten amidst the camaraderie engendered by shared surgical experiences.
When the elderly couple learned where we lived, mutual acquaintances were discovered. While we didn’t make dinner arrangements together, a respect and bond began to form which supplanted my earlier irritation.
Ok, just as a refresher course, here are the lessons I was given on the first two days of our vacation:
Day one – It is more blessed to give than receive (even if the recipient has expensive taste in coffee).
Day two – Love your neighbor as you love yourself, even if they cracklecellophane food wrappers behind you in a darkened theater.
Branson already has a reputation for wholesome, family entertainment. Sight & Sound Theater, bringing stories from the Old Testament and the New Testament to life with amazing depictions of JESUS, MOSES, SAMSON, NOAH, and QUEEN ESTHER can only help bolster that reputation.
A couple of nights after we attended JESUS, I met a military couple from Pa. who had been to see JESUS the same night my wife and I attended. Their seats were 6 rows from the stage (but they had to sit through a time-share presentation to get them). Even from the upper reaches of the balcony we experienced the same amazing sights and sounds as they. But If you order early (or sit through a time-share presentation) and get seats on the floor like the Pennsylvanian’s did, instead of 40% of your five senses (sight and sound) being stimulated, you get one additional sense stimulated (smell) at no additional cost. The profusion of well-trained camels, Roman soldiers on horseback, sheep, & pigs roaming the stage and aisles also stimulates your sense of smell according to my new friends who live not far from the other Sight & Sound Theater in Lancaster, Pa.
Adult Ticket prices were $62.50 with a 10% discount for veterans.
Steep, but after I saw the performance, I thought it was worth it.
And as everyone knows who read yesterday’s account of the first day of our trip, I’m not one to hand out money like it grows on trees.