I have a thing about flash-mobs. I’ve never taken part in one, may never take part in one. I’ve never seen one happen ‘in the flesh’, possibly because I don’t tend to go to the sort of big shopping/tourist/event centres where they usually happen, but I think as spectacle that generates emotion, even at the level of a YouTube video, they are amazing.
Two have been brought to my attention this week, and both made this rather unemotional person, very emotional. They had completely different aims, but watching them has led me to thing two things.
My husband drew my attention to the BBC news story about the Head Teacher (Rector) of a Scottish School who was game enough to give his students a leaving present they are unlikely to ever forget:
This is up to 208,000 views and counting at the time of posting having been uploaded on 8th May 2011.
This afternoon I read Charlie Peer’s post about a flash-mob by professional dancers and singers in April in London which sought to raise awareness of child sex slavery and exploitation on behalf of Love146. Filmed in April and uploaded on 9th May 2011 it has 17,800 views at the time of posting.
The one filmed in a Scottish School seems to be simply aimed at making a bunch of people feel good. The Love146 flashmob seems to have sought to tell a story, make a point, and raise money.
The figures I’ve quoted suggest to me that all people really want is to be made to feel good, and that despite all the effort and professionalism (and presumably expense) that went into the one designed to make a point, it won’t (to the same extent), because people don’t want to be made to think – especially about something that is as difficult to eradicate as child exploitation. But perhaps I’m being too pessimistic about human nature?
And yet, my heart hopes, and lifts with excitement at the idea of the impact which can be made with this sort of ‘in-direct action’. Which led to my second thought:
Whilst watching these I developed an irrational urge to create a spectacular Pentecost flash-mob one year somewhere really noticable, because for me, the concept of a flash mob reminds me of what Pentecost must have been like.
Think about it: tongues of flame, wind, the spectacle of dozens of people all talking at once about God (possibly even singing and dancing – they were Jews after all) in languages that all those in the multi-lingual hub that was (and is) Jerusalem could understand. Surely then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, it was in fact God who created the very first flash-mob, and all it needs now, is for the message he included to be the one to ‘goes viral’:
“Repent and be baptised… in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”(Acts 2:38)