On Wednesday night, my husband and I, along with about 20,000 other devoted fans, had a blast at the Mumford & Sons concert here in Phoenix. We had been awaiting this night for quite some time, and all of the build up and anticipation paid off. The lights, the music, their performance…it all exceeded my expectations and lived up to all the hype I had heard about seeing them live. What I walked away with, though, from that night that I had not been expecting in the least was a worshipful experience.
Opinions seem to be pretty split on this issue, but overall, Mumford & Sons is not a “Christian” band. Many of their songs, however, hint at themes of God, faith, and even prayer, which is one reason I have always loved their music. Still, I was not anticipating a worshipful experience that night, but I had one. A crowd of 20,000 + people is quite a site. It’s hard to even imagine how many people that is until you actually see it with your own eyes. We were surrounded on every side by thousands of adoring fans and LOTS of alcohol and marijuana. The smell of it was thick in the air, along with other unidentifiable scents, and the behavior that those elements produce was just as prevalent. On one side of us were a group of young people smoking (who knows what), drinking, and cursing while singing along to the lyrics of “Awake My Soul”:
In these bodies we will live,
in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love,
you invest your life
awake my soul…
awake my soul…
awake my soul…
For you were made to meet your maker
It was moments like that which were filled with such irony that caused me to think of Jesus. This morning, I taught on the passage in Matthew 14 where Jesus feeds the 5000 (men, plus women and children). This would assume that there were upwards of 15-20,000 people present that witnessed not only Jesus’ teaching but also experienced His provision for them when they were hungry. Many of those people there might have come to see Jesus because they had heard great things. Many came as skeptics, and others came superstitiously. Whatever their reasons for coming, they were there. They heard, the witnessed, and they partook.
As I stood in that massive crowd, taking in all that was going on around me, I thought of Jesus feeding that massive crowd over 2,000 years ago. Jesus didn’t have a sound system that He was hooked up to or an audio crew that would ensure that those who were in the last row could hear what Jesus was saying. Think about that. Even if there were only 5,000 people there, which there were certainly more in attendance, how on earth did they all hear what He was saying? I imagine the front rows would turn around and repeat what He had said, and it probably was like an enormous game of “Telephone” as His message was passed on to those in the far reaches of the crowd. What’s unfortunate about the game of “Telephone” is that most often, there is much lost in translation. What is actually said in the beginning is nowhere near the final message. So, again, as I’m standing in the midst of chaos and everyone around me including myself is singing “For you were made to meet your maker”, I couldn’t help but think, “Much has been lost in translation.”
Was I standing there judging? No, I wasn’t. I was standing there very aware. How often, do we as Christians, even put ourselves in situations like that where we rub shoulders with the lost? We tend to have these neat and tidy lives that are filled with people just like us, but that is not the way that Jesus lived His life. His own disciples that He chose as His closest friends here on this earth were VERY different than Him (fisherman, tax collectors, physicians, skeptics, and the like). He went into the darkness and brought His light into it. Do we do the same? Or do we shy away from the darkness because it makes us uncomfortable? I have to be honest, there were moments at the concert that made me extremely uncomfortable as the people around me shouted out profanities while singing out bits and pieces of these truth-packed lyrics:
So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears
But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck
And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker’s hand
Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it’s meant to be
What am I NOT saying? I’m not saying that the primary way to connect with God and to hear Jesus speak is through secular means. God’s Word is His primary tool of communicating directly to us, and that need not be neglected. However, we limit the way that God can move and work in our lives when we cut out all other avenues. God was very present at that concert, if in nothing more than me and every other believer that was there. And Mumford & Sons, regardless if they intended to or not, were used to speak some truth to many thousands.
Megan Foutz says
I was at that concert and I felt the same way! I am a huge fan of Mumford and Sons, and was so excited for the concert. I expected to leave grateful to have heard them live but never did I expect to feel like I had just left worship. I smelt the weird smells and saw the bad behavior but I felt like I was worshiping. I have only been following your posts for about two weeks and I love them and look forward to them, but this is by far my favorite post. Thank you so much for everything!