Tonight a group of seven of us from St James went to Rockmass number 8 at Thatcham. Amongst our number were several people who had never experienced Rockmass before, including Rev Richard. We have on a number of occasions tried to ‘explain’ Rockmass to Richard, but I guess tonight is proof that you can’t really explain it, and the only thing to do is experience it for yourself.
Also there tonight, as the ‘star turn’ so to speak, was Ian MacDonald, the Diocesan Youth Officer. You can get the view from his side on Youthblog, but from ours it was a great talk. As Ian said to us before the service, Rockmass is a difficult congregation as there is a really broad mix of ‘young people’ – although Rockmass is usually thought to be the kind of service aimed at young people, the reality seems to be somewhat different, with a broad range of ages coming along.
Anyway, as this was Christ the King Sunday, Ian used the example of the third Lord of the Rings movie, Return of the King, to explain the meaning of the festival. He also managed to include that one of the reasons he likes Rockmass is because it is so loud nobody can hear how badly he sings, and also a really rather funny story about Colin the Fireman at Bristol Airport. Certainly it kept our interest throughout the whole talk, had some laughs, but ultimately a good message at the end.
Surrounding all of this was the usual selection of quality music, the band sounding better than ever. As at previous events there was a good mix of songs that were new, together with ones that we knew from previous visits – although two of the new numbers – the Rockmass style Christmas carols did leave some people somewhat stunned I think! They also expanded on the use of more secular numbers started last time with Lean on Me, adding in What if God was One of Us? – Ian has linked to lyrics of both songs over on his blog. As Ian comments, the use of mainstream songs is quite a brave move, and as last time has left me thinking about which other tracks could work in a religious setting.
Anyway, I diverge – all the people we took along said they enjoyed themselves, and I think Rev Richard went away with some new ideas. As he said as we left, he’s seen everything today, from a BCP 8am service, through our new Family Service at 9:30am, through to this, almost two hours of loud rock music, but surrounding a perfectly straight Eucharist. Incidentally, apologies for the lack of pictures this time – I only had the mobile phone camera with me, and with all the electronics around, we were asked to turn phones off. However, there are pictures of what it is like over at the Rockmass site.