Musings & Threads. Spellbound.
Spellbound. Love and Fear.
I was spellbound by the live version of Jesus Christ Superstar broadcast on April 1st; the singers, the staging, the costumes were electrifying. As a skeptical Christian, I like Jesus Christ Superstar’s controversial theme, and I also love the music. (To those of you who are not Christian, one reason that this Rock Opera is controversial is that doesn’t include the resurrection, the key tenet of Christianity.) I am a critic of Christianity, but, to be fair, I am equally critical of other religions. So, I stay with Christianity because that was how I was raised; and its rhythms, rituals and music are familiar, inspirational and comfortable to me.
What I like the most about Jesus Christ Superstar is its themes of crowd behavior, resistance to change, and especially, the powerful impact of fear. There are philosophers and even some Christian sects that believe that everything that we do can be attributed two emotions: love or fear. While I might add one or two, I would agree that those two explain most behaviors. Jesus Christ Superstar illustrates how fear drove the execution of Christ. Judas was afraid that Jesus had gotten off script (more recent scholars believe Judas felt that Christ wasn’t rebelling enough against Roman Rule). Caiaphas, the High Priest, was fearful that Jesus’s agitation of the crowds would disrupt the status quo and possibly result in the elimination of the Jewish people. King Herod was afraid that Jesus would usurp his throne. Pontius Pilot was afraid that he would be perceived as weak if he didn’t execute Jesus. Those separate fears created a sequence of events that resulted in Jesus’s crucifixion, the most horrid of deaths. And one more, Jesus’s followers feared that they, too, would be killed if they stopped the execution of Jesus, so, they didn’t support him at the most critical time.
A wise woman once told me, that whenever you see someone acting uncharacteristically, it’s fear. Worries, crazy decisions, inappropriate outbursts, jumping to conclusions, crazy stories…they all have the same root—fear.
I know that I made my poorest parenting decisions out of fear, fear that she will not have the right friends, or right job, or the right boyfriend or that she would be forever scarred by her father’s early death; fear, fear, fear. My daughter and I now have a code, if she feels my comment or suggestion is inappropriate she will ask if it is coming from fear or love. If the answer is fear, then I stop, if it is love, I can continue.
So, in that context, it makes life pretty easy, those 3 a.m. worries, hesitation, poor choices…the base is usually fear and I should be able to recognize it and stop. But it is easier said than done, which is why, this morning, the morning of my late husband’s birthday, I got out of bed at 4 a.m.