We walked with purpose. We walked with conviction. The green room behind us, the packed auditorium in front of us. “Walk of shame?” I asked Derek…”Walk of shame,” he responded with a chuckle.
There were nine of us altogether. Charlie, Brandon, Sara, Sandra, Derek, myself, and 3 other guys dressed in black with white neckties. I would soon discover these guys were not an armed security detail, but rather the talented percussion section who would spend the next 3 hours keeping the beat.
We pushed open the door and suddenly we were just off-stage, to the right. Though a carefully placed folding partition blocked the view of our entrance to most in attendance, a handful of folks saw us and began clapping and yelling. Should I take the stage? I thought about it for a split second…probably not a good idea. The crowd did not come here to see Sara Groves place a rogue stage crasher in a full nelson so Charlie Peacock could pepper his ribs with body punches (not that they wouldn’t have enjoyed it). The crowd came to see good music. Who was I to get in the way of that?
I thanked Derek again for the free tickets, and found my way back to Erica while the rest of my shame-walking posse took the stage and opened the show with a rousing rendition of Sara Groves’ “Add to the Beauty”. From the moment the first chorus kicked in I knew it was going to be a great night.
And it was.
This was the Art*Music*Justice Tour. An idea dreamed up by Sara Groves and her husband Troy. It was about bringing great music and important causes to hungry ears. Erica and I were happy to make it up to Messiah College on Saturday night to take it in.
As for the Art and the Music, all five of the performers on stage played their own unique part in the evening. Whether it was solo performances of their own material or jointly leading the assembled crowd in familiar choruses, they knocked it out of the park. Musical highlights for me were Sara Groves’ “Add to the Beauty”, Sandra McCracken’s “Lock and Key”, and Sara Groves’ “I Saw What I Saw” (video below). Derek Webb’s “Savior on Capitol Hill” was awesome as always, of course.
As for the Justice portion, they did a great job highlighting two causes: Food for the Hungry and the International Justice Mission. I was especially intrigued by the work IJM is doing to free women (often young girls) from human slavery and sex trafficking. The stories of rescue and freedom were incredibly inspiring.
On a personal level I was inspired by two things. First, like I just mentioned, I was inspired to learn more about IJM, and I look forward to possibly supporting this organization for the great work they are doing. Secondly, I was inspired by the artists themselves, that they would use their platform for this cause. I had just posted about this a few days ago, and there I was Saturday night seeing it in action. People using their platform to help others. I said it then and I’ll say it now, that’s where I want to be. I want to be in the position to influence others so I can influence them to help others.
I sat there on Saturday night thoroughly enjoying the music, but more than that thinking, “I’m 32 years old and I’ve been working as an engineer for 10 years, and what do I have to show for it? I have equity in my house, no other debt, and a great standard of living where my wife and kids are taken care of. I am so thankful for these things. But am I really using all of the talents and abilities God has given me to make a difference? Am I willing to risk the safe things to take chances? Am I willing to step out and see what could happen?” We only have so much time here on earth, and if at the end of my career I’ve been working as an engineer for 25 years, is that going to be ok with me? I don’t know. For some people I think that’s right where they’re supposed to be. For me, I’m not so sure. Just being honest here. It’s something I think about a lot and have been praying about a lot.
So yeah, maybe some day I won’t head from backstage to my seat in the balcony. Maybe someday I’ll finish that walk up onto the stage to read from a book I’ve written or to speak to a gathered crowd. I have no idea if that’s what God has for me down the road. I know I have the desire, and I think I have a seed of the talent it might take, but who knows.
If my life does take that direction at some point, I can assure you of this, I will always be looking to use those opportunities to help others and use my platform for purposes outside of myself. Thanks to Derek Webb, Charlie Peacock, Brandon Heath, Sara Groves, and Sandra McCracken for showing me an example of that on Saturday night.