It was a Christmas present, a surprise only to me – the rest of the family had all but failed to keep it a secret… tickets to see Adele in concert! Adele has had a way of imposing herself upon the soundtrack of our family life. She has an inherent gift to speak personally to our vulnerabilities and foibles but also to our dreams and aspirations. Adele, at 19, 21 and 25 (the names of her 3 albums) displays charisma, compassion and courage, the gifts that many in our church would love to embody.
This Christmas gift was a wonderful insight into popular culture and the attraction of a charismatic figure who is able to take the temperature of the nation. Born in North London, to an 18 year old mother, her father left the family when she was 4. Adele struggled at school and also in her personal relationships during her formative years. It was her voice, its purity and gravity, which became her salvation. When she graduated from the BRIT School for Performing Arts, Adele was quickly signed up to a music label. Her success has been meteoric.
I wonder if any coarse comparisons can be made between Adele’s success and the mission of the Church? The most noticeable feature of the Wembley Stadium concert was Adele’s fan-base. It was completely mixed in terms of gender, age, class and race (the jury is still out regarding creed). She attracted a very large congregation – 98,000 people at each of the 4 Wembley shows. She gave them soul, passion, tears, and a good deal of humanity. She appealed for community action, for the raising of funds and awareness into the Grenfell Tower tragedy. So, this was a meeting that didn’t just focus on the stage, but looked outwards as well.
Adele’s final blessing revealed her desire simply to be a mum to her infant son. A normal girl trying to live an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances with a God-given gift. The religious devotion, the use of sign and symbol, the language, and above all, the passion of Adele may one day lead her to realise a calling; for God calls all his children to serve in the world. Perhaps Adele will surprise us all one day and turn up in church, ordained, leading worship, focusing on community values, and the presence of the man of passion, Christ. If so, I want to join her church!
Remember to come to the ground-breaking ceremony at St Michael’s this Sunday after the 10am Eucharist.
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