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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Jesus Tribute Act

I was pondering, as you do, the parallels between the fine work of the tribute act, G2 Definitive Genesis - much beloved of denizens of The Stables, Wavendon - and priests, pastors and other permitted ministers of the rite of Communion, Mass or the Lord's Supper.

As you would. Now it strikes me that, as people going along to Wavendon, there are certain things we want to hear. Carpet Crawl, for example, or Afterglow or the Knife. Probably not Acabab.

And when they play, we want to hear music roughly as it was played in the "Second's Out" era - that great live album. Unless, obviously, the song in question was first recorded in 1979. Shame to have five minutes or more of everyone standing around in embarrassed silence. That would just be silly.

And we don't mind that they're not dead ringers of the originals - though Piers is rather Tony Banks-ish, with his thoughtful expression. And Terry can somehow appear to inhabit Phil Collins's persona in an uncanny way. Not his habit of having a divorce every five years and then writing an album about it. I mean his on-stage persona. And Dave does quite a good job of looking like the little, earnest bloke who never played bass with Genesis.

No, that's not the important bit. The important thing is that they sound like the originals. We don't really want originality, new improvs, exciting new sound effects or hip-hop. We want a group that plays Genesis songs, like Genesis did. We want the right instrumentals, in the right place. We want that delicate pause in Supper's Ready before we all shout "a flower?"

And I feel the same way about the way somebody leads Communion. I don't mind if their physical appearance is much like Jesus. I personally don't go much for beards, anyway, and we don't know how tall he was.

In fact, I don't personally care whether the person leading the Communion is English, Jewish, Pakistani or African. Or male, or female, or any other designation they choose. Or straight, gay or celibate. These things are not my problem. Jesus died to save all of us, and that's good enough for me. (And yes there are certain past acts that would rule some people out of ever presiding at Mass, and that's another matter).

And I don't care whether this is in the frame of a BCP Communion, Anglo-Catholic Mass, Methodist or other setting, or even if it's a genuine free-person just reading the words directly out of the Bible  (and yes there are some churches that won't let me partake, and that is also another matter).

What I ask is that they are a Jesus Tribute Act. I want them to do the things Jesus did, and say the words we are told he said. Not in Aramaic, I'm not some kind of perfectionist - but to leave it at that. I don't want their own comments on the matter. I don't want interesting modern diversions. You can say what you like during the rest of the service - in the sermon, announcing the songs, doing the notices.  After all, Terry in G2 doesn't pretend to be 1970s Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins in between songs. Otherwise he'd have to pretend he'd never been to the Stables before, and demand to know when Milton Keynes happened.

But during the Communion, in the words and the actions, I want them to be a Jesus Tribute Act. I don't want them. I don't want personal flourishes. I don't want personalisation. I don't want clothing that says something about them. I don't want to know anything about them at all - who they are is, for the time being, totally unimportant. I just want a good, reliable, authentic Jesus Tribute Act.

I guess I'm just old fashioned like that.

1 comment :

  1. I'm sure that you mean well. But honestly, your idea's are so modernist that you'd never know that we're in the post-modern era.

    You want authenticity, you wan't real, when the reality is all about mysticism, smoke and mirrors and public representatives (priests) whose presence at the Eucharist is to be a channel of God's grace to the congregation and the Congregations grace back to God.

    There is no personality cult involved, particularly as the priest is robed and clothed in the representative role that they uphold by the grace and confidence placed in them by the people that they minister to.

    So, get with it - or be without it.

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