As I remember it many in the religious community at that time in 1970 thought Jesus Christ Superstar was sacrilegious. But it might just be the primary reason I returned to religion. That is what this post is all about.
I can still remember when I went to the musical Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972. I was a fresh out of college engineer trying to figure out the dating scene that had alluded me up till then. I thought my date would enjoy seeing a Broadway musical, even if it was in Indianapolis. I don’t remember who it was that I took to the play because as usual that relationship didn’t last past two dates. But, the play itself would have an everlasting effect on me and my spiritual journey.
Up to then I saw Jesus as some mystical character in the Bible who supposedly had a lot of life’s lessons to teach me, but his primary purpose was to prevent me from suffering eternal agony. He just didn’t seem like a real human being with thoughts, doubts, and troubles. Simply stated, I just didn’t see him or his teaching as having much to do with the life of a twenty-some year old in the twentieth century. Of course, I knew the person on that stage was no really Jesus but through him I finally realized that I had Jesus all wrong. He was a living, breathing person who according to some Catholic theology had doubts and questions as I often do.
As if that musical wasn’t enough to kick me back into religious gear, the next year I saw Godspell, which like Superstar, was about the life of Jesus. This time I went to this play alone as I had already, at least temporarily given up on the dating scene. I’m kinda glad I did as it allowed me to become more engulfed in the performance in front of me instead of trying to please the date beside me.
I actually cried when I heard the song Day by Day. The double whammy made me go back to the Catholic Church of my youth and to get more involved in learning its theology and traditions. I had become, yet again, a full-fledged Catholic.
These two plays did more to build my spiritual life than all the priests, nuns, and Biblical lessons had years before.
Even though I didn’t stay in the Catholic mold for that long, it did have a profound effect on my life. It wasn’t until fifteen years later that I got married and joined the Evangelical church of my spouse, that I dabbled in religion once again.
I want to close out this post with the words and a little history of the song Day by Day. The three primary lines in the song have since been foundational to my spirituality. It totally saddens me to see all three things totally stomped in the mud by too many who call themselves followers of Jesus!