Last night, I purposefully went to a hardcore show. Not wanting to intrude (though I imagine I would be welcome, despite not quite looking the part), I stood outside and just observed.
I chose this particular band (Sleeping Giant) based on reviews from one of the great fest photographers. She explained that their shows were some of the most worshipful hardcore music she’d ever heard. These words immediately came out of my mouth: “the church needs worship music like that.” I knew I had to be there.
The music clearly isn’t my style. I don’t really mind it, but this type of music tends to just become background noise to me; I can tune it out at a moment’s notice. Not last night. Last night, I listened and heard God’s people joining in honest prayers and worship. I heard people who don’t look like me on the outside, listening to music that I don’t really get. But, we’re all part of the same great story.
Sleeping Giant’s first few songs (I admit, I did leave partway into the show) were unabashedly & unashamedly spirit filled. While other acts were drawing equally large crowds to sing about life, romance, daily struggles or whatever (which is all fine & definitely has it’s place), this tent was filled with people overjoyed to use the whole bodies (via dancing) and whole voices in worship.
The music isn’t for me – a fact that my friends pointed out several times. I know that. But, on another level, this is for all of us. Who knows the soundtrack of heaven?
Earlier in the afternoon, I smiled, tapped my foot and tried to sing along to the sweetly-dissonate worship of Men As Trees Walking (Allen Aguirre’s latest project). That, too, is music that doesn’t show up often on Sunday morning across the US. Yet, that music, too, caused me to say “The church needs this.”
The church needs people to use their God-given gifts, and express themselves according to their God-given passions. The church needs places where people can worship God wholeheatedly and “come as you are” instead of always having to try to fit in, clapping their hands or singing four-part harmony.
I am so glad that music like this exists. I am so glad it pops up all over the Cornerstone grounds. You see it around campsites often, with youth groups pulling out an acoustic guitar and belting out the songs of their generation. You see it in the world music venues, with people who have first-hand knowledge that Christ is at work all around our world expressing praise in different ways. You see it in the crowds that always show up for Flatfoot 56 and dance the circle pit while singing their hearts out to “Amazing Grace.” You see it in the closing lines of the Relient K show last night, with a gorgeous chorus about Jesus being the way, truth, and light. And last night, I feel honored to have also heard it in the Sleeping Giant show.
I am so glad that there’s a place at Cornerstone for music like this. But, even more so, I am so glad that there’s a place around God table for all of us.