Last night I went to see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on my own. I had a seat right at the back and could watch not just the performance well but also see the audience. People were not as dressed up as I remember 35 odd years ago and the production didn’t seem to be as rude and raunchy as I remember. But that could just be me that had changed. I was a bit nervous of being in a theatre full of people with no distancing, which again is why I picked a seat at the back. There were 5 empty rows before there was anyone else. But I suppose viruses can travel.
Anyway when it came to the end the cast came back on stage and led everyone in iconic dance of the show, “The Time-warp”. I would say the whole audience leapt to their feet and danced for a good five minutes. We’d all taken our masks off because we were sitting down. So lots of singing, dancing, a bit of sweating I’m sure, and no fears or even thoughts of catching the virus. It was just the full joy of having seen a great show, enjoyed the enthusiasm of everyone else and just wanted to let off some steam. I must say I then skipped to the car and sung all the way home. I was even dancing and singing when I got back and had to take the dog for a pee.
Now I know I haven’t been to church since March 2020 but even before the fear of this awful virus there wasn’t that level of enthusiasm. Even when I went to a charismatic church back where we used to live it was rare to get that level of carefree abandonment through the whole congregation. As one crazy guest musician once said “you all think you’re being wild but you are all staying in your seats, the same seats you sit in every week.” It was true.
So I’m not saying that we need to infect other people but how often when we are in church do we get that level of carefree abandonment where we just want to let go and just have fun. It isn’t about being undignified. But, like with last night, it is about being caught up in the craziness, the enthusiasm, the fun, the joy, and also the whole thing of being in something you know so well that you know what to do.
Because, as I started this thought, I wondered if maybe last night was because it was different, but as I listened to people talking, for most people they came because they loved this iconic show, which is why it is still going after 40+ years. I was there because it was something I knew. So if, as Christians, we say we know Jesus, say we love Jesus, say we have gained so much from our lives from Jesus [which is much more than being the audience in a show we love] why don’t we go wild, feel such joy and abandonment.
I don’t know about you but I know that I now need to have a re-tweak of how I walk out my following of Jesus and have more of what I had last night in it.