Not long ago I was watching a video of a Coldplay show.
“Lights will guide you home…and I will try…to fix you”. It rang through the crowd, 30-thousand strong. Loud, desperate and nearly reverent. The band stood on stage. Back from their microphones. Electric grins on their faces as they accompanied the sea of souls, singing words they wrote. Their words.
And not just singing. The crowd, their upturned faces and reaching hands, are roaring these little words. Fervently, as though each person is trying to be heard above the rest.
I am a worshiper by nature. It’s what I love; the language I’m most fluent in. But I realize that not everyone shares this “first language”. My wonderful husband Aaron, for example, is a worship supporter. For a long time, after church he would say to me “The music is really cool, but I just don’t understand the spiritual experience everyone seems to be having. I don’t understand how this has to do with God.”
Okay. That’s fair.
But last Sunday as I was standing and worshiping in church, the picture of that crowd at the Coldplay show, bellowing a song back to the band crashed into my mind, and I smiled to myself.
So after church, sitting in our living room, I said to Aaron;
Imagine if you wrote down everything that was in your heart for the ones you love. Every good thing you wanted to do for them. Everything about them that you think is perfect. Every hope you hold for them. Every comfort and forgiveness that you will offer. All the things inside yourself that you would gladly give in the service of their good. You wrote it all down and made it into a song. A good song. Perfect even.
Imagine you took your perfect song and you released it for air play. People hear it. They hear it, and it strikes a chord inside of them, it runs around in their heads even when the radio is off. It’s on their lips, it is their anthem. It spreads like wildfire and before long, you have throngs of raving fans, who know your song, every word.
And one day, these people you love, now raving fans of your song, come together. At the foot of the stage they come together, full of adoration for your music, upturned faces, excited whispers, to see you there on that stage, to hear you.
So you get up, and you sing your song to them.
You stand alone, singing softly at first.
But then somewhere around the third chorus, as the intensity of what you’ve written begins to ring out, strong and true, as the power begins to build like waves after the earth has shaken, the people are so overcome with what you’ve written that they drown you out with a thunderous response, as they sing it back to you. All of the gratitude, the love, the movement your song as stirred in people, it comes crashing back to you.
And wouldn’t you step back from the microphone for a minute, full of joy, and think; “They heard me! They heard my heart! They love me too!”
They are raving fans, with upturned faces and reaching hands, roaring the giant words and you can see on the face of each and every person, straining, faces shining that they are trying to sing it loud enough to make sure you hear them.
Please hear me, adoring you and this song you’ve sung me.
It’s what we do, isn’t it, when we’re moved?
That author of the first song, that’s God. He's used the stage of life and the air we breathe to send his song to us. And all that stuff we sing about, it's just our amateur fangirl and fanboy attempt to peal back the love song He sang to us first; the one he used to sing the universe into existence, the one he wrought the beautiful things with, the one he soothes our souls with and the crushing chant he delivers us by.
That’s what worship was meant to be. Us, so moved, so stirred that we can’t help but turn our faces to him there, and bellow from our deepest reaches an echo back at him, like fans at the foot of a stage.
I want my church worship to be as full of raving fans as a Coldplay concert. And I can imagine, when God looks at the two - church and a big stadium, full for a show - he wants it, too. That eternal singer of songs, the lover of our souls. I believe he continues writing his love to us, hoping we will hear, hoping for movement in our lives. Hoping the next time we come together, it won’t be some bland recitation, some empty obligation. If it’s that, just don’t sing. Don’t insult Him like that. He SAW the Coldplay concert. He knows what raving fans look like.
And if you think about it and you realize you’re not a raving fan, it’s okay. Here’s what I’ll tell you. You don’t have to fake it. You can be still and quiet. And if you do….if you listen for the strains of his love song in your life, I promise you, you’ll find it; The orchestration of him working things together for our good. The treble of his power, and the piercing strain of his love.
Listen for the song. I promise that you’ll hear it. And when you do, see if you don’t become a raving fan, too caught up in how good His music is to do anything but respond.
To say "I hear you! I hear your heart! I love you."