“This concert experience was totally different because of what we did at church this morning,” said Kailey, a fellow New Hoper who sat (stood dancing) beside me at the Arcade Fire explosion last night. She’s right. It was… for me too. I must have seen twenty of the the same people who were in church that morning, that night at the Corral. And there really was something about the correlation between what happened Sunday morning and what happened Sunday night. That morning we’d sung/listened to four of same songs they played that night. That morning I spoke about the “child-like” authenticity, forthrightness and integrity of the band. That night I saw it expressed in each of the band members, via their dance, their voices, and their intense facial expressions. That morning I spoke about AF’s stinging indictment of the modern man – our empty, sleepy, suburbs; our weak worldview capitulated lives; how we’re all in line for a number but we don’t understand – and that night all of the prophetic power of those sentiments came down to bear on that Calgary crowd.
That morning I spoke of listening to the music and, at times, feeling the Spirit of God hovering over the lyrics. That night, as Arcade Fire sang Intervention, church organ keyboards in the background, it felt like Jesus was in the room… indicting the “faithful” for their failure to love others as they love themselves. That morning I took three quotes from the song and interpersed them with three quotes from Jesus (directed at the hypocritical, judgmental Pharisee religious leaders);
“Working for the church, While your family dies
You take what they give you, And you keep it inside” Arcade Fire
“Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you let [people] disregard their needy parents.” Jesus in Mark 7:10-12, NLT
“Who’s gonna throw the very first stone? Oh! Who’s gonna reset the bone? Walking with your head in a sling…” Arcade Fire
“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Jesus, John 8:7, KJV
“Been working for the church, while your life falls apart. Singing hallelujah with the fear in your heart, every spark of friendship and love will die without a home.” Arcade Fire
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to….you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness… You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean… “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Jesus in Matthew 23, various passages
And then after I read all six quotes I said, “Jesus speaking back then – directly – and today, via Arcade Fire… ” That night, as I stood there scanning the congregation, it felt like the scenes were reversed! That morning we brought Arcade Fire into church. That night Jesus showed up at their concert. Powerful.