Christmas, Holy Week

Everything’s Alright

Yvonne-elliman-mary-mag-4 (1) From the basement, I hear the sweet voice of my daughter singing.

“And it’s cool, and the ointment’s sweet

For the fire in your head and feet.

Close your eyes, close your eyes

And relax, think of nothing tonight.”

It’s that season. I looked around the house yesterday for the CD, the Original London Concept Recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. We play it in the car, and we sing along with the songs, and we laugh at some of the orchestrations.

Earlier LP sat at the piano playing Mary Magdalene’s other famous song, the one I used to play and sing when I was just a little older, sitting on the same bench, touching the same keys.

I had the sheet music for “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” I first heard someone playing it at summer camp. Because my Southern Baptist grandmother had declared both JCS and Godspell blasphemous, and because my dear mother feared upsetting her, I had to keep my knowledge of the musicals secret. When my high school chorus sang selections from Godspell in a concert, my mother wouldn’t tell my grandmother I was IN a concert!

Hot stuff.

At my house we don’t fear art. We talk about it, play it, sing it, learn from it, critique it and appreciate it.

It’s so long ago, and the question of blasphemy seems almost quaint, but I wonder what my grandmother thought she knew about Jesus Christ Superstar?

Because of watching it and listening to it, we’ve had long discussions about Pilate (#1 Son loves the song about his dream) and Judas, who we are not so quick to consign to the role of thief as in John’s gospel or demon-possessed, since we don’t understand the world that way. Watching and listening to JCS has gotten us talking about the comprehension of the disciples, the role of the religious leaders and their relationship to the Romans and to the royal family as represented by Herod. It’s gotten us talking about the way creative people pick and choose from the gospels and tradition to paint their own pictures of Jesus.

I don’t see how this can be a bad thing, no matter what my grandmother might have thought. After all, it’s not what goes in that matters. It’s what comes out. And I like what springs from my children, their thoughtfulness and their depth on matters artistic and theological and personal. Everything’s alright.

4 thoughts on “Everything’s Alright”

  1. Love this! Jesus Christ Superstar is one of my favorite musicals. It was also my first introduction to the idea that there are different ways to understand/interpret the Gospels.
    But I agree with Pure Luck – the movie sound track is best. After I wore out my original LP I bought a tape. Now I’ve downloaded it from iTunes so I can have it with me all the time.

  2. Just finished our yearly Lenten viewing (a day late, I guess) which always makes me think of you 🙂 And after the video you posted, put the 2001 version on my wish list too, even though it looks….a little weird.

  3. Itching for a viewing here… didn’t get one last year, so I’m really feeling the lack. I think JCS is such a powerful rendering, so faithfully and thoughtfully crafted, so true to the spirit of the gospel on which it’s based…that said, I watched several clips from the 2001 version and *REALLY* didn’t like it at ALL. I think the older movie, with its desert setting and 60s/70s counter-culture elements, speaks more truly than the newer movie’s self-conscious urban shock-leather & glitz.

  4. I love this recording put together by the Indigo Girls with Amy as Jesus, Emily as Mary Magdalene, and various Georgia musicians as everybody else. It’s not quite like anything else I’ve ever heard.

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