Thursday, February 18, 2010

Godspell Spirit

Memories of God #2

I'll say this with some uncertainty, but I believe it was the 1983 Lutheran Student Movement National Assembly in Bozeman, MT. If it wasn't, it was the assembly in '84, in Missouri.

One night at the assembly, we saw the film version of Godspell. I don't remember a great deal about the film itself, but I do remember being moved by it. (I've never seen it since and I've read that it's not a very good film---but that matters little.)

Either later that night or later that week, there was a worship service that used music from the musical. At the passing of the peace, we sang "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord," over and over and over. There was a band playing and the entire assembly---I don't remember how many that would be, maybe something like 300-500 college students? maybe more?---wouldn't stop. We were caught up in the moment and there was a euphoria in that place as we went throughout this university hall, hugging one another, encouraging one another to make the crooked paths straight (not that those were in the lyrics, but they are in the Isaiah passage that John the Baptist is quoting in the song). In retrospect, it is a good song for preparing for the Eucharist.

Anyway, we're singing, the one line over and over, and it got away from the worship leaders. We were all laughing and crying and singing and hugging. I remember saying to my friend, Shari, "I don't even know why I'm crying!" She said, "I don't either!" But we kept on crying and singing and hugging.

I don't know if this is really a memory of God or not. It may simply be a memory of mass hysteria. I do know what it's like to get caught up in the enthusiasm of a crowd, how it can take over, how good it can feel.

I was in love that night with several hundred strangers. I didn't want it to end. Movement of the Spirit or just the madness of a crowd, I'm thankful to have experienced it.

1 comment:

  1. Spirit and madness can look so much alike. If I remember correctly, the apostles were accused of being drunk on the day of the Pentecost. ;)

    I was there too though, sadly, I don't specifically remember this. It was an emotionally difficult LSM gathering for me for a number of reasons. Maybe it *was* in Missouri the next year, which I did not attend.

    I do remember being blown away by the worship experiences at other LSM gatherings, so I completely believe it could and did happen just as you say.

    I vote for "Spirit". If it was madness, it was a madness of love and I'll accept that too.