Bishop David Wilbourne, now back at home in the diocese where he spent his entire ministry before serving at Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, has written ‘Superstar!’, the new Lent Course for York Courses. David explains:
"It’s 1970: Apollo 13 limps back to earth, as Edward Heath becomes PM, wanting to take us into Europe (I wonder how that went!) Meanwhile, Jesus Christ Superstar takes the West End by storm, presenting an earthy, gritty Jesus, straining to reach Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mountain-high notes. I blew my pocket money as a Scarborough teenager buying the Jesus Christ Superstar LP from Deans’ Music Shop in the old town, and was blown away by the show. It was unafraid to think outside the box, asking daring questions which gave colour to my former monochrome faith, firing my vocation and shaping my writing and my preaching ever since. Its themes are as relevant to 2020 as they were to 1970, so I am delighted to explore them in York Course’s Lent course, celebrating Superstar’s half century.
"Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber have been tremendously generous in allowing me to use their lyrics to tease out the faith which lies behind them. The eponymous track, Jesus Christ Superstar, I use to explore both who Jesus is and the nature of suffering. Herod’s song with the hilarious line, ‘Prove to me that your divine, change my water into wine’ inevitably leads into a discussion on miracles. Jesus crooning ‘Take this cup away from me, I don’t want to taste its poison’ springs a reflection on the Psalms. And the most controversial ballad, Mary Magdalene seductively singing ‘I don’t know how to love him,’ prompts me to investigate why the Church often doesn’t love him very well at all.
"My course booklet is accompanied by a lively CD, where Canon Simon Stanley grills broadcaster Steve Chalke, author and bishop of Sheffield’s wife Catherine Fox and RC theologian Carmody Grey about my themes, with concluding reflections by Stephen Wigley, Chair of the Methodist Church in Wales. When I was a parish priest, York Courses always delivered, enabling the liveliest of Lents, so I hope Superstar makes your particular group sing!"