What is Ekklassia?
Εκκλασσια (Ekklassia) is the Greek word in the New Testament that we translate “church.” It literally means “gathering.” For instance, from the Old Testament, we use the Greek name from the Septuagint for the book of Ecclesiastes, because Solomon’s wisdom is being imparted to “the gathering.” So for the purposes of my rock opera, the title is “Church, the rock opera.” Or The Gathering.
So the rock opera is about Church?
It’s about the Bride of Christ. But it is also about the apostate church. It’s about that very real battle, that hideous precariousness that has been in play since the first century. It’s about calling out the heresy, taking on the accusations leveled against the Bride, and challenging the Church to become the adult in the room once again.
So how does Jezebel come into the story?
Jezebel is an archetype, just as she is in the second chapter of the Apocalypse given to John. Just as the original Jezebel married into Israel, led them astray and persecuted true believers, so the spirit of Jezebel is called out for perpetrating upon the church of Thyatira. In my rock opera she is a real person, an apostate, and a political figure. She has a past with both the church and with our lead character, The Pastor.
Tell us about The Pastor.
Our lead fellow attended Bible college – that’s where he and Jezebel were a thing – and then served pastorally for a couple of decades before becoming so burned out on the self-serving, corporate church model, that he turned to a life of hedonism until it landed him on the streets of Seattle. This is where the story picks up, with him turning back to his God, his Faith, and his calling. God raises him back up as a blazing challenge to the church and how far She has wondered from her “first love.” But he also stands in defiance of all that Jezebel is doing politically to silence free expression of the true Gospel.
Download it and find out. (smile)
This rock opera has some history. Tell us about that if you would.
This recoding, ten months in the studio, is a silver anniversary celebration of the original staging back in 1991 in Edmonds, WA. I was finishing up Bible college, taking Greek and advanced music theory all at once. That’ll do things to you for sure! My friend Eric Smith and I had planted a Saturday night church and the band started working on this side project. There was the main band, but then somebody would say they played violin or flute or clarinet and I would say, “I can score parts for you!” And I did.
And did that turn into a world tour?
Yah-no. [LOL]. Just the opposite. It turned into a one night only – one time performance. We had no idea what to do with it and I couldn’t ask that many people to just keep pouring themselves into it. The main band would take pieces of it and perform it out at clubs and such, but the opera had a good day and then settled down onto a shelf some place.
Until now. Yup. The thing has haunted me all these years. Many times I teased the idea of doing something with it again, but that door always seemed to slam shut within me. Then last Christmas (2015), I was praying and suddenly it sprang to life in my heart; this nudge in my heart, telling me to record it, fund it, and then give it away.
Is there anything different or new with this recording?
Well many things if you count my use of technology for creating the sound of which I had always dreamed. But the main change is that I took the song “Streets” and its reprise out of the lineup and replaced them with a song I composed in 1982 called, “Bright Flows the River” (and its own reprise). The reason why is that I’ve released a couple of recordings of “Streets” – in fact last year I did with my then band The Blue Fuse. I simply couldn’t muster excitement for recording it yet again. “Bright Flows” has a history all its own and it has ministered to a great number of folks from every spectrum of society throughout the years. God had really brought it to my attention during the last year. Whereas “Streets” and its reprise provided evangelistic bookends for the third movement of the opera, “Bright” and its reprise couch the third movement with a message of ministry and perhaps a bit of God’s message He gave Isaiah: Comfort comfort, my people.
How do people get their free download of Ekklassia?
Are hard copies available?
Twenty-five year anniversary cds are available for $25 through Studio North in Lynnwood WA. I will be putting a button for that at Andy’s Angels Records come early November.