In my last parish, the choir sang, “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison on Easter Day. They knew it would make me and others smile as the Communion table was cleared. This nod to my favorite pop group got me wondering about other Beatles songs that have “crossover” potential for use in church, for example: “Help,” to focus the mind before the Confession; “Let It Be,” a musical invitation to embrace a deeper peace after receiving Communion and “The Long and Winding Road,” as a heartfelt response to the Final Blessing. One summer evening, before the end of the program year, I intend to offer a Beatles Mass outdoors, hoping it will attract a crowd (socially distanced, of course).
Meanwhile, I’m recording a series of podcasts with intern, Hope Durot, entitled, “The Gospel According to the Beatles.” Hope is a big Beatles fan so, together, we feel we have a winning formula: pick a Beatles song, and talk enthusiastically about how it resonates with the teachings of Jesus. The latest offering is called, “From Penny Lane to Strawberry Fields” and connects John and Paul’s invitation to see ordinary life as the source of the sacred and Jesus’ ability to do the same, but with one important distinction: for the Beatles, love is all you need; and for the New Testament witness, God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God and God lives in them (1 John 4:16).
All that said, I’d be honored to have you take a look at the short video below, share it with friends if you like it, and let me know if you have a playlist from your favorite band that would lend itself to an outdoor worship setting.
Onward in hope,
Gareth Evans serves as the rector of St. Barnabas. He is an inspirational leader who brings significant pastoral experience, a depth of reverence in worship, and a relatable preaching style.