Thursday Night at the Greek2
On Thursday night, my wife Cassie and I attended a concert at the Greek Theater. The band isn't her favorite musical act, but I had been looking forward to this show since I got tickets back in December.
With work commitments and a busy family life, it had been a while since we attended a concert like this. But after getting the kids dinner, explaining all the rules to our babysitter, and battling traffic through Los Angeles, we found our seats at the Greek (yes, unlike other concertgoers, we sat the entire time). And the concert was incredible! Well worth the trouble getting there on a "school night."
For me, there's nothing like a live concert. Especially at a venue like the Greek, when the temperature finally cools off a few degrees and the only ceiling is a canopy of stars. I'm tempted to describe the experience as "transcendent."
All this for just five guys on stage. A couple guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. Piano here and there.
Now, we had what were called "Obstructed View" seats. We could see everything happening on stage, but we were off to the side, at an angle. So we could see the band, but we could also see their crew. At one point Cassie remarked at how many other people there were on stage.
Off to the side and out of the spotlights were these roadies. Sound engineers. Stage managers. Lighting techs. The guys who made sure each guitar was tuned before bringing it out to the band members in between songs.
While we were there singing along to the five guys on stage, those five guys were completely depended upon everyone else who were off to the side and out of the spotlights. When the lead singer walked into the crowd, someone had to make sure his microphone cable didn't get tangled up along the way. When the guitarist needed his axe in an alternate tuning, someone had to make sure it was ready to go. When the bass player's microphone stand fell over, someone had to pick it up for him.
This serves as a helpful metaphor for the church. In a new series we begin Sunday, July 31st, we are thinking together about what it means to be a member of a congregation, what our denomination calls a "Covenant Partner." In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he writes,
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ... Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1st Corinthians 12.12, 27)
It's like that concert at the Greek Theatre on Thursday night. While some have "up front" roles to play, it takes a huge team behind the scenes to pull off the show. Without everyone on stage, Cassie and I couldn't sing along from our seats with the "obstructed view."
To be a Covenant Partner means joining the tour, serving either on the stage or over on the side, out of the spotlights. It does not mean sitting in the audience - that's for the world outside, looking on. And, by God's grace, when we work together, each with our own part to play, that world outside looking on will learn to sing along - and maybe even join the tour, too!