This lively rock musical of the final days of Jesus Christ is a supercharged rendition of a superstar. The idea of putting His life on the stage and screen in this manner was and continues to be offensive to some people. To others, however, it is exactly what needs to be done with the story of Jesus. We need to have people see and feel the electricity of this spiritual story.
The movie is shot on location in Israel and benefits substantially from the wonderful natural rock formations in the desert as well as the ancient Roman ruins that are used as backdrops for the film.
The opening scene shows us a group of actors arriving on location and getting into their costumes and the final scene is of these same persons getting back on the bus and leaving.
Three key characters dominate the movie and sing most of the songs. They are Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Judas. Mary is portrayed loving and accepting---she has been powerfully changed by Jesus' message even though she doesn't fully understand why. Judas is doubting, cautious, scared, and accusatory---he wants to believe but feels Jesus should pay more attention to Judas' warnings. It is only at the end, after he has already betrayed Jesus, that he realizes how much he loves him. At this point he sings the song that Mary sang earlier in the film about loving Jesus but not understanding why.
Although we know the ending and that this movie is about very important spiritual issues and ultimately about pain, suffering and death; it is told in an exciting, joyful manner through the vibrant music. Another wonderful touch is the scene where Jesus is taken before Herod. All of a sudden the music is no longer with a rock beat. Instead it is ragtime and the scene is played for laughs. It is a way of reminding us all that we must nourish our lightness, our sense of humor is essential if we are going to get through the darkest of moments.
Music is one of the most important ways that humans can get in touch with their spiritual dimension. This musical helps to do just that and more. By balancing Judas and Mary in the script, it is also helping you see the importance of overcoming your resistance to change and the need to let go and change even when you don't quite understand what is happening to you. Not all things are explainable. Sometimes you have to act on faith.
Clearly the story of Jesus Christ is worth singing about. We have written a thousand hymns in his honor to glorify God. The idea of putting the story into the rock idiom helps us more fully appreciate the idea of remembrance of Him through breaking of bread, His body, and drinking of wine, His blood. We need to build spirituality into our everyday lives. We need habits and rituals to assist us in not forgetting to value our spirit, to nurture that spirit, to love that dimension of what being human is all about.
I also like the movie as it is a way of saying that each and every one of us can build God and spiritual dimensions into our profession lives just as these musicians and artists have done in their creation of this movie. How can you incorporate God and spiritual issues into your professional work?