Saturday, 27 August 2011

Greenbelt 2011

"Transcending Realms Divine"

This month Sub was even more exciting (483Kb) than usual, taking place at the Greenbelt Festival (455Kb). Around 150 people came to watch and participate in our gothic/metal communion. Although the main aim was to bring sub-cultures together to worship in unity, the underlying theme was one of moving from an impure earth to a heavenly home-on-earth. The idea of thin places inspired the thought that a spiritual veil separating us from heaven would be made thin by our worship, allowing us to step through and into a holy place, right in the same room. We used the metaphor of a toxic monk - a spiritual being wearing a gas mask to protect it from the earthly toxicity (much like a plague doctor of olden times). Even the congregation wore (paper) masks until the sacrifice Jesus made at Golgotha was re-told, cleansing the atmosphere and making it safe to remove our masks, bringing us one step closer to heaven.

We then held communion, which used a more literal visual aesthetic to make the act we were participating in more real. Don’t worry, we didn’t use actual blood, but we did put wine into a blood bag over the ‘body’ of Jesus (covered in white cloths, as if ready to be operated on). Our minister, Al, was dressed in lab coat and gloves, ready to perform the surgery, as he administered communion. Organ transplant boxes were used to transfer the sacraments (including wine in test tubes) to communion stations for people to come and receive.

We spent some time in reflection of this act and its meaning before coming to a final moment of joy in the holy presence. We handed out glow sticks to both represent a cultural light and to have some fun together. The service concluded with a blessing and one last song. I think for those experiencing it, there was a lot to take in, with lots of visual stimulus (from both images and film to the actions of performers interacting with congregation). However, it seems to have been well received and is a strong opening statement from this new group, given to Greenbelt about the possibilities of worship. Who knows what the future holds, whether Sub will return to Greenbelt and if so, in what guise. But on the strength of this reception, there is appetite for more. I have included a song and film list (49Kb) for those interested.