A few days ago, the BBC reported on details of the opening ceremony of the forthcoming Olympic Games in London, a spectacle that will be viewed by around one billion people worldwide. You can watch an engaging interview here with Danny Boyle, the artistic director of the ceremonies, while there are further details of the setting and the ceremony on this BBC link.
Furthermore, there’s a detailed feature on the opening ceremony on this BBC link, which also notably mentions the concept that Jesus spent some of or all his ‘missing years’ in Britain.
The opening ceremony has clearly been influenced to some degree by William Blake, as the first scene is entitled “Green and Pleasant”, a term taken from William Blake’s notable poem And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time? The words were later put to music, as detailed in the above BBC feature, and the resulting song ‘Jerusalem‘ has long ago become Britain’s most popular patriotic song.
As I noted on page 248 of my book The Missing Years of Jesus, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games concluded with a presentation by the British, which gave a flavour of what the world would witness in 2012. Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin played at this closing ceremony, but the ceremony opened with the haunting strain from Jerusalem, so it’s entirely fitting that Blake’s influence should once more be seen and heard at the Olympics in 2012.
Danny Boyle hasn’t disclosed all the details of what the world will witness on July 27th in London, but as you can see from the BBC picture at the top of this post, there will be a replica of Glastonbury Tor, the location perhaps most closely associated with the idea that Jesus once visited and stayed in Britain as a youth. In addition, this reflection of a ‘mythical’ British landscape contains an oak tree, which was sacred to the ancient Druids, as well as pagan Maypoles, all in a rural setting that even contains rivers.
The Times wrote that Danny Boyle had “rightly, interpreted his task as a celebration of what gives this country tang, a celebration that he aims to be idyllic, but not naive”. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t agree more, while I also think what we’ve seen so far does justice to the memory of the visionary genius William Blake, who has enriched all our lives with his paintings and poems, as well as providing us with a haunting, evocative poem that’s become the most memorable expression of one of the most fascinating and engaging mysteries known to Mankind.