Today was the final day of our church’s holiday Kidz Klub. One of my contributions was to play the Roman Emperor Nero in a short drama which ran each day (we had a theme of ancient Rome). As usual, the drama was not at all rehearsed, and in fact we only had a script for the first day, ad-libbing the rest. You can imagine then that this was not a theatrical masterpiece.
I quite enjoyed playing the part of Nero as it gave me a chance to throw in a few Roman history jokes (which were lost on the 5-10 year olds, and I suspect most of the helpers too), and I also took the opportunity to develop an N T Wright theme of Jesus as Lord being a direct challenge to Caesar as Lord. So I asked the children to worship me and declare that Caesar is Lord (“kurios caesar”). They were supposed to realise I was the bad guy, but (perhaps due to the sheer strength of my personal charisma?) they obligingly bowed and worshiped. Oops – that’s not supposed to happen in church.
Anyway, today the kids were primed not to worship me, which they did a good job of. I couldn’t shut them up to say my lines because they repeatedly chanted “Jesus”. But I resisted the pressure to have Nero convert to Christianity at the end of the drama – that was just too offensive to my sense of historical integrity, even given the wild amount of artistic license we had already taken.