Rockmass Service

Had a preaching gig tonight and found myself at a ROCKMASS being held at St Mary’s Thatcham. The theme (as per the church calender) was “Christ the King!” I arrived half an hour early and the place was already buzzing with the light rig, smoke machine, band, amp etc all up and running and quite a few folk in the congregation for what has become a kind of youth service for all ages! The Format, as they describe it is, “exactly what it says on the tin” … Rock music (worship) plus a liturgical Eucharist. This liturgy provided a great skeleton for the service which helped avoid the possibility of so many youth services, that stray too far into performance.
rockmass3.jpg The band were awesome and led well, there was a mix of new stuff and semi-trad. Interestingly though, incorporated into the worship was a couple of mainstream songs, What if God was one of us? (Joan Osbourne) was a very bold move and worked well. What a great question to be asking, albeit with some interesting speculation thrown in! Lean on Me worked well as a very anthemic piece but I have to admit I struggled with the Rap version of “The First Nowell” Loads of credit though for boldness, creativity and experimenting.
The preach was difficult for me, trying to do a youth service with SUCH a wide age range. It went OK(ish) but I will link to any critiques that surface. The text was from Luke 19 where two disciples ‘steal’ a Donkey that Jesus rides into Jerusalem on. The crowd of Disciples declaring “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” [vs 38] and Jesus responding to the Pharisees saying that if the crowd didn’t shout out then, “the stones will cry out!”
I used Lord of the Rings, Return of the King as a way in and how the White tree in Minas Tirith begins to bud once more as Aaragorn is recognised as the rightful king of Gondor. The challenge of the preach being to
1. Seek the King
2. Serve the King

I really appreciated it as a service. There was a passion in worship, an engagement with the senses … and in the middle of all this, a simple and meaningful Eucharist.