I went to see a local production of Jesus Christ Superstar last night. There are many things that have informed my Catholicism — you know, the Bible. Church services. My priest. Saint Books. Those Catholic picture books. Mariology. Ornate Cathedrals.
But especially, Jesus Christ Superstar. I would ride my bike down the sidewalk singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” My sisters and I did beanie baby throw shoes (in which you dance while throwing the beanie babies up in the air). I did productions of Jesus Christ Superstar with my paper dolls in an all-girl cast. I’ve talked about this before, but it was one Lent, after listening to Jesus Christ Superstar, that I realized Jesus’ pain relating to his death, even if it was willing. “Gethsemane” gave me a soundtrack to experience Holy Thursday and become better involved in my Church services. I would spend countless hours arranging spools of thread like the angels in Heaven and practicing “Heaven on Their Minds.” Listen Jesus to the warning I give…. Imagining the 39 lashes given to Jesus, marring his body is embodied through song. (The scenes with Pilate and the crowd gave me a very real depiction of hurt and anger, more than what I was getting in my stale Catholic school. But it made me pay attention in Church. The rituals during Lent and Holy Week became alive for me.)
Now that I reflect on my Catholic beliefs: low-Christology, political, melodramatic, belief in the real resurrection as when people remember — came from my religion, but it also came from Jesus Christ Superstar.