If I Were Preaching

The rocks and stones themselves

I found this on YouTube, and honestly, I have no idea when this production was filmed, and it's a little weird, but somehow and nevertheless I found it captivating. The key for me is at 1:12, the rendering of the best verse ever:

"I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out." Luke 19:40, NRSV

I haven't preached this favorite text yet. The first two times in my ministry Luke came around in the lectionary, I arranged a dramatic reading of the Palm and Passion story much like the one we'll do on Thursday night at Y1P. This year my colleague is preaching, so I don't have the impetus to put the swimming thoughts together into a whole.

But it occurs to me this year that in a moment of panentheism, Jesus might just be suggesting that all of Creation is so suffused with God that if people can't see it, Creation will sing the song for them, because he is God and he is with them.

And with us.

Happy Palm Sunday!

11 thoughts on “The rocks and stones themselves”

  1. That’s from Jesus Christ Superstar (film is from 1973).
    I was really struck by the fact that the authorities in that video look like they’re wearing cassocks… Makes me wonder where I belong in this drama. I love what happens with the music, though, and the way the dissonance comes in at the end. The edginess is very well done.

  2. I poked around a bit more and realized I was wrong. The original movie (based on the musical) was filmed in 1973. This clip is from the remake, from 2000. Makes more sense, eh? 🙂

  3. This is from my favorite version of JC Superstar. It’s much more powerful to me than the 1973 version—the Apostles are basically portrayed as urban guerrillas, and the Roman soldiers are dressed almost like storm troopers from Star Wars. Very dark and intense.
    I never thought I would accept a blond-haired, blue-eyed person playing Jesus, but Glenn Carter made the passion story come alive for me in a way that no one else ever had. Dear Friend and I watch this movie every year as our preparation for Good Friday.

  4. I like that better than the 1973 version. I must get a hold of the whole thing…
    I like the political rally feel. I am thinking of playing the first 1/2 to open the sermon tomorrow.

  5. Wow. It’s kind of Mad Max, no?
    And that’s definitely my read on the stones that will sing.

  6. I just ordered the DVD. I am more a fan of the concept recording than the movie, but either way it will be a big change!

  7. I’ve always wanted to preach on the stones crying out, too. It’s only in Luke, and Luke begins his story with John the Baptist saying, “Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Is there a theme here to apply to the whole Gospel? I only discovered I was preaching this morning at around 7pm last night (sick colleague), so don’t have time to do anything this subtle!

  8. I remember vividly getting this album for Christmas one year. My sister got Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, but I wanted JC Superstar and I think I could sing every song on the two albums. I was madly in love with Ted Neely forever it seemed. What good memories. :c)

  9. The stones shouting is one of the points for reflection during the Experience Easter trail that we offer local schools here…It’s always so hard to get them to engage with what it might mean – but your words here have helped me.
    Did I tell you about the year G was Annas in “Superstar” and had to shave his head completely to look like a suitably archetypal villain? I kept passing him in the streets for weeks afterwards without noticing! Deeply disconcerting.

  10. I think this text became the impetus for me to use rocks during Lent. Rocks in the baptismal font and a basket of rocks in the narthex for people to pick up and hold and pray with and then set down during a prayer for healing into piles that formed prayer cairns. Rocks for the rugged journey. Rocks that might sing out the whole of human suffering and hope. I too, like you, miss Lent and Holy Week this year. It’s not the same….

  11. I love when Luke comes around because the choir sings an anthem called “Ain’t No Rock” that is completely awesome. (

    🙂 Last time, I preached on rocks crying out. This year we had a guest preacher and he talked about wrapping our arms around Jesus/the body of Christ the way the disciples must have done in order to help Jesus onto the colt (also only in Luke). Two intriguing little points, I must say!

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