They handed us wristbands as we entered the stadium. All of the fifty to seventy thousand, I don’t know how many, people walking to their seats strapping them on, getting ready. We’d missed the opening acts due to the traffic so we waited in the interval in anticipation.
Eleven hours of travelling, and many months of planning, brought us here. A dream moment for me. If there is one band I’ve wanted to see live it is Coldplay. Living where we do now, getting to see a big name concert usually involves a bit of travel. This time we grabbed the opportunity to go to Boston, and, even better, with a group of friends.
It was a perfect evening. A still, warm summer night. As the daylight faded, the moon shone over the stadium. Our seats were towards the back and up in the stands, but it gave us a good view across thousands of people to the stage.
Then our wristbands lit up – a sea of red dots filled the stadium. The band came on the stage, the music began.
This was the moment I’d been waiting for. Everyone stood to their feet, cheering, clapping – including me. I was beyond excited, yet I experienced a kind of culture shock, and not just because I’d never witnessed so many people watching the show through their cell phones. I think it was the moment everyone around started putting their hands in the air. I know it’s nothing unusual in a concert, a festival, or a sports game, and I’ve been to all those things in the past. This time it made me stop and think.
I meet with people every week and music is played, we stand, sing, shout, clap, raise our hands, sometimes even dance. Church. These things we do in worship to Jesus. When I looked at the crowd around me in the concert it looked a lot like worship to me.
I love Coldplay. I love their sound. I love their performance. I like them. I don’t worship them though and it wasn’t what I was there to do, so I stood for a moment in the middle of the crowd of thousands and did a little bit of thinking. Where was my heart in this? This may sound strange, but I felt convicted.
As the fireworks went off at the end of the first song, ‘Head Full of Dreams’, and the stadium turned yellow for, you guessed it, ‘Yellow’, it was a fantastic spectacle in the stadium, and above the moon shone in a starlit sky. What great effort we go to as humans to create a show, while creation is just there bearing silent witness to an awesome God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1 ESV
All of the people in the stadium, the band on the stage, are all God’s creation too. We’re made in his image, made to be creative; we’re able to create great music and light shows, but we’re also made to worship. Looking around me I could see how we all know how to do this, it comes naturally when we love something or someone. One guy a couple of rows in front of us was abandoned to it. He was also completely intoxicated, and seemed to want attention for himself as well as the band. The thing is we all worship something, and often we make the mistake of worshipping created things instead of the creator.
I should say something else about worship here. It’s not just about clapping, singing, and shouting, or raising hands. Worship is so much more. How we live reveals who we are worshipping, who has our hearts, whether it’s God, an idea, a person, band, material objects, food, drink, or even ourselves. Worship goes beyond an event or a meeting.
So I was there on a beautiful summer evening to enjoy the experience of being in a live Coldplay show with my husband and my friends. Once I’d had my moment of reflection, getting my heart in order, I danced, sang, jumped and punched the air a good few times, not because I agree with everything that’s said in every song, but because I’m free to do so and I know the One who has made all this. In the end it is Him I’m living and breathing, jumping and clapping for. What an evening.
One of the highlights for me were the little bracelets, funny as it seems. Looking around the stadium the dots of light made each person stand out, made us all part of the show. It was overwhelming how many lights there were. So many people. So many lives. All in one place.
It makes me feel good when I’m with a crowd so big enjoying a show. The high lasts a little while. I’d go again. Beyond those feelings though my heart ached, because though it’s great to experience a concert together, how many of those people are also searching for the kind of love that can really satisfy the soul? I couldn’t stop thinking about it. All those people, how many of them searching for the One really worth worshipping whether they’re aware of it or not. How great it would be if we were all worshipping Jesus together, knowing His great love and grace. A multitude. What if all those lights went out into the world and spread that light everywhere they went.
This is the light and love I want to ignite my bones and ignite my heart. This is the light leading me home.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ John 8:12