This past Saturday night I went with my oldest daughter to see an up and coming indie music group, Of Monsters and Men.
As soon as we sat down I was struck by two things. First, I was easily the oldest person in the room. And second, I was pretty sure I was the only dad to ever introduce the group to his daughter. It’s usually the other way around.
I’ve always loved the freshness that leaks out of indie groups before they get “discovered.” There’s always a peculiar originality that comes when you combine hunger and talent, one that rarely can be sustained once music executives start dangling contracts and business plans in front of artists.
Of Monsters and Men hails from Iceland, and quickly became a local favorite in the Philadelphia music scene after someone from 104.5, a local rock station, discovered their music a few years back. Like U2 back in the early 80’s, Philly truly gave Of Monsters and Men their big break, and it was a pleasure to see them before they become a household name.
A number of things impressed me about the experience, but what will forever stick out in my mind was my reaction to the band’s rendition of their song “Yellow Light” to close the concert.
I was totally caught off guard.
It’s hard for me to put into words what happened.
All I can say is that as the song built in momentum, and as the drums and guitars and crowd and lights crashed together like a street symphony, I experienced the grandest, most rapturous moment of transcendence I’ve experienced in a long, long time.
I worshipped like I never have before.
In a bar.
With people drunk all around me.
To a song wriiten and performed by a group of non-believers.
Who weren’t talking about God at all.
I worshipped, truly worshipped, like no other time in recent memory.
I don’t know exactly why or how this happened, but I have my guess: they believed what they were playing.
Which almost never happens in a worship service.
Don’t believe me? Contrast how people in the Bible reacted when they encountered the divine (ex. falling dead from fear, repentance, etc.) to the average insipid “worship time” that is proffered in the typical church.
It’s obvious the people up there don’t believe what they’re singing any more than the people in the seats do.
And that, my friend, is why the typical church worship service is simply horrible.
While we may have had different objects of our worship on Saturday, it was a privilege to be in the room, if only for a brief moment, with people who believed what they were singing.
I needed to feel that again to remind myself that it is still possible.
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