Last night was my first time going to a concert where the performance was not a Christian artist. I’m not referring to the faith of the individual artist but rather the image, the type of music and the message they promote. Also, by non-Christian, I don’t mean that I went and saw an anti-Christian band.
In this post, I want to reflect on this new experiencesand share with you some of the differences I immediately noticed between the two types of events.
What do I do with my hands?
One of the most common expressions seen during worship sessions whether at church or at a concert is people raising their hands toward heaven. It’s an odd thing if you think about it, we can’t even reach the clouds, let alone the heavens! Yet something in us longs for home. Of course, what we are really doing is pointing towards Him who all praise is due. It may not even something we do on purpose. Most of the time the Holy Spirit is so overwhelming in that moment we can’t help but reach out for God. So what do you do when the lyrics or sound of a secular song hit a nerve or stir an emotion in your heart? I didn’t know what to do with my hands. In a way, it felt wrong to raise my hands for something that wasn’t directly worshiping God. Yet, at the same time many of the lyrics spoke profoundly about the human condition and experience.
A Spiritual High
Definitely a new experience for me, the amount of marijuana being openly smoked without fear of repercussion. Sure, there were a few police officers there, but even a badge and a gun are of little use when you’re up against hundreds. Then there is the massive amounts of alcohol being consumed, which at $7-10 a beer, I don’t understand how anyone can afford. At some of the Christian concerts I have been to alcohol has been available, but I’ve never seen anyone drinking. You might think it is just because of the moral beliefs or personal convictions of the attenders but I think there is something else at play too.
As I watched people become mentally altered, it wasn’t too much unlike what I have seen at Christian concerts. I want to be careful here. Please don’t misunderstand what I am about to say. The inhibitions, the sexual displays, the foul language and many other behaviors people display when partaking in these substances is very much unlike what happens at Christian concerts. However, the excitement, the laughter, the feelings of passion and joy those who choose to partake are trying to achieve is very much like the effects felt naturally by the yearning of the Holy Spirit within the believer when worshiping. The Bible is clear, when someone dedicates their life to Christ, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The spirit awakens our hearts, drives us and cries out for God.
The other big difference I noticed at this concert was the lack of connectedness I had with the other people in the crowd. Sure, we were all there because we liked the same bands, had similar tastes in music and in general just wanted to have a good time. Yet, other than this and perhaps being U.S Citizens, there was nothing that really connected me with anyone else there. At Christian concerts you know that you are joining other believers, united together with one purpose, not to put the focus on any of ourselves through wild antics, but to humbly worship our creator.
There are very few bands I would see in concert. The Goo Goo Dolls are one of my favorites and I enjoyed their set very much. In comparing the two different types of concerts, it’s not necessarily about one being “better” than the other in a subjective way. More importantly, while I loved last night, something was missing. As Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 took stage he declared that we were all going to just celebrate life. Indeed, I enjoyed life in that moment, but celebrate? Now that is something I find myself doing at a worship concert where the Holy Spirit connects believers, overwhelms them with passion and urges them to raise their hands towards the only one who deserves glory.