Sunday, September 21, 2008

Contrast

My day couldn’t have ended more differently than it began. My friend Nikki and I took on the job of offering hospitality to some of the people involved in the Men at the Cross event last weekend. We ran errands, served meals, and offered our help in a myriad of ways. Even with a couple of surprises and with some frustrating moments, Nik and I figured it out, held it together and got it done. (There will be a point to my making us sound so efficient.) I got to add to my list of “Why I love Starbucks” after forgetting one minor detail as I tried to brew coffee for 35 in my huge pot. The end result resembled warm weak tea. They promptly got me out of my coffee-less mess. (not to mention CAFFEINE-less) Once breakfast was set with the familiar cardboard coffee containers and white and green paper cups, we stationed ourselves at our post in the bowels of Will Rogers to be available if anyone needed anything. We were in our element and having a ball.

Every few minutes we would run up the stairs to take a peek from the darkness of side stage at what was going on. The whole event was geared towards discipleship and finding a “Timothy” to disciple. However, out of the nearly 2000 men that attended, 380 men gave their lives to Christ for the first time on Saturday. Lives changed. Families changed. Churches changed. Communities changed. Their search for the “Something” was over. Christ found. Completely satisfied.

Fast forward 5 hours later. Jeff and I were off to see the Eagles at the American Airlines Center. Everyone I have told that to has said, “Who?” (like they don’t know who the Eagles are) I am not sure, but I think it just sounds funny coming out of my mouth. I am “one of those” who had the Amy Grant “Straight Ahead” RECORD and also the Michael W. Smith album with him crawling on the same argyle pattern he was wearing. A few years later, I thought the world was going to come to an end when Amy came out with her “Unguarded” album. My music horizons have expanded somewhat since I was 13. I know Eagles music (Who doesn’t?) and I like it but it never has been my genre of choice. However, Jeff has two older brothers by at least eight years so he’s heard the Eagles since he lost his first tooth. The only two secular artists I have ever heard Jeff mention that he would like to see in concert are James Taylor and the Eagles. When I heard about the concert, I thought tickets would be a great anniversary gift even though the weekend of the concert was already pretty full.

On our way to Dallas, we created our own little drama when we realized we left the tickets at home. I got to hear Jeff use his most colorful expletive, “Crud!” (Or was it “Golly-doodle”?). Thankfully, since we ordered online, they had record of it and printed out two more tickets. Right before the music started, we settled into our budget friendly seats. Picture really high and very strange angles in relation to the stage. We would have a perfect view of who had hair implants and who did not. Here are the positive things about our seats: we could see the screen--- from the back, the cost of the seats didn’t dig into our grocery budget and we could hear the music just fine.

During the first 30 minutes, some displays of lost inhibitions were taking center stage around us- actually right beside us. Security guards were summoned, grown professional men were ushered out, women were told to cool it and I began to feel a little out of place. The more displays I saw, the more I realized I didn’t get out very often. It was then I began to think about how different this experience was from my morning.

After an hour of playing, the classic band took a break. We walked around to let Jeff unfold his legs a while (and recover from altitude sickness). After talking to my hero, the security guard, about the concert, the hurricane and college football, we found ourselves being escorted to box seats on the Platinum level. I know. Crazy. We actually could see the front of the stage, Don Henley’s face, and all the fun graphics we had been missing! As we enjoyed the last 2 hours of the concert, I saw much of the same antics going on in the box--people doing things they hadn’t done since the prom or the locker room or maybe just the weekend before. They were lost just like the people I was sitting with in the outer galaxy of the American Airlines Center. The “box people” were calmer, more contained, but they were still searching for “Something”. Concert over. Nothing changed. Nothing found. Still looking.

The contrast of my day spurred my thoughts on in many different directions. Men at the Cross participants left challenged and 380 left with their eternal destiny solidified. The people at the Eagles concert left having heard some entertaining music. At Men at the Cross, Steven Curtis Chapman offered passionate praises to the God who “gives and takes away” three months after tragically losing his 4 year old daughter. The Eagles sang songs that made them a lot of money over the last 3 decades. Saturday morning, I was actively involved, looking for opportunities to serve, praying for the men to be changed and inspired, offering words of encouragement when needed, and initiating conversations. It was familiar and I was comfortable. Regretfully, Saturday night, I was only a spectator. I was not in my element and I was not "figuring it out".

Jesus surrounded Himself with both types of people I was with on Saturday and loved them all the same. The difference is that Jesus would have known what to do with the woman that melted into a puddle of tears beside me because she thought her friends had left her when, in fact, they had just gone to get more beer. He would have known what to do with the lone woman who was passed out in the box as we left our nice new seats. I THOUGHT about it as I sat and as I walked by, but not for long enough. Where was my helpful, encouraging self of just a few hours earlier?


There is where my heart needs to be—figuring out how to minister when I am not in my “element” being so efficient and figuring out how to love them in their element. We love because He first loved us. I John 4:19

7 comments:

Alyssa said...

I've been to way too many concerts and never once thought of it as an opportunity or place to serve. Thanks for pointing out the contrast and showing how much both sets of people share in common: a need for Jesus.

TJ Wilson said...

Love this - maybe even more - the 2nd time around. Great thoughts, great descriptions. As always, your thinking gets me thinking.

spaghettipie said...

I echo the two above, and love the way you reflected on the juxtaposition of the two events. I just attended a workshop on this technique in film - that putting two separate scenes next to each other can create a third level of meaning. You did that, and now I have a lot to think about!

Krista said...

bits- now that I've pointed it out, let's see if I can do anything about it
tj- writing it didn't shorten it, did it?? Thanks for "listening" twice!
pasta girl- of course, you did. Is producing movies next on your never ending list of skills??

Dondra said...

I too have attended a few concerts lately and never really thought about it in that way. Thanks for the contrast and helping me think about this!

Dondra said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Margie said...

Interesting, and though-provoking post, which I enjoyed (as always). By the way, I had the Amy Grant "Straight Ahead" cassette. It was one of my faves. I have not told you yet that I love the new look, too.