I got to go to a really awesome concert this weekend. I sponsor a child named Iriseth, who lives in Columbia, through Compassion International. Compassion emailed some of us a while back because they needed volunteers to work at their booth at a concert at the Xcel this weekend. I was free, so I decided why not. I figured I would get to listen to a bunch of cool music (if not see it, since I figured I’d be busy working the whole concert) and do something good with my time. I like Compassion. I joked all week that I was going to be “selling children” at the concert, but really, it’s a pretty serious thing. On the top of one of my piles was a little boy who was not even 4. I don’t know all of the criteria for how they select children, but what a sucky life, to start out so young, being in need of so much help. I gave him away first.
The cool thing was that I got to see most of the concert, since I ended up being a rover and not working at the table. It was a combination concert – the iWorship tour and the Adoration tour happened to come to the Twin Cities at the same time, so they joined up, which meant that everybody cut their gig in half, but you got, like, 4 times the concert. It started at 6:30 and didn’t get out until almost 11!
I had an awesome time. I stood in the back of the main level (not the floor, but the seats) right around door 117 (if any of you know where that is) and had a pretty good view the whole time (except when this one guy between me and the stage would stand up, but he didn’t do that much). What was great was that I really felt free to worship. In college, all of a sudden worship looked different than it had at my church growing up. We barely clapped for the little kids’ choir growing up, and all of a sudden, people were praising God with their whole bodies! It was strange and unnerving at first, but God gave me the gift of eyelids – seriously, He showed me I could worship quite well with my eyes closed, and then I wouldn’t be paying attention to anyone but me & Jesus. I had quite a few friends who were charismatic in their worship styles, and secretly longed to be able to express myself freely like they did, with hands lifted high, jumping about, whatever. I could never seem to escape myself (or thinking about others around me) though.
Since college, I’ve worked at quite a few churches, all of which have been conservative in their worship. It’s a struggle to get my current church to clap during a song to the beat. And when & I go to The Rock where other people are worshiping freely, I feel overly-conscious about what she (and others) will think of me. It’s irrational, I know, but it’s always been that way. Well, this weekend I was alone. No one there knew me. And I finally felt able to praise God with all of me, hands lifted, dancing, voice. It was wonderful.
Listening to: Jeff Deyo & Rita Springer, “Bless the Lord” on Worship Leader’s Song Discovery, volume 43