What a GREAT concert and celebration of 25 years of uplifting Music from The Joy FM. Thank you for making encouraging Christian Music accessible to so many! For us it was a festive night spent among friends and the amazing family of Joy FM Listeners. We were all in for a quadruple treat and the artists delivered the goods! I was particularly excited for the opportunity to enjoy the music of Audrey Assad in person since I have fallen in love with her LYRICS this year. It was fun getting to meet her and tell her what a blessing her music has been.
So the evening passed very enjoyably and finally Brandon Heath was introduced and came out to sing. He ended up doing something that I wonder if he will do again in the future. I think the outcome was a little unexpected and more than he bargained for. For me it ended up illustrating Jesus in a surreal way. So what Brandon did was invite all the kids to come down to the front. They came as if the floodgates had been opened. And it was sweet seeing them gathered in a big cluster watching Brandon sing. They had cell phones and were photographing and videotaping him.
But I was soon aware of a feeling of discomfort, because it quickly became apparent that the cloud cluster of kids was continuing to brew and surge forward until they were actually encroaching on the stage itself! You could see the surprise on Brandon’s face while at the same time that he’s trying to sing; he’s saying, “keep a reasonable distance.” Carmen's mother was sitting in front of me, and about that time she turned around and said under her breath (in a rich Olympia Dukakis voice from "Steel Magnolias"), "Well, let's see how she's gonna handle this." Without really being aware of cycling through the thoughts, I realized I was beginning to feel a bit stern toward the children and thought to myself, “Okay you parents… you need to do something.”
And almost in the same split second of that thought, ANOTHER thought slammed into my mind, “Let the little children come to me!” Wow! It was a weird kind of déjà vu feeling. I was aware of being on the edge of my seat trying to process the scene as the children continued to invade and the very words of Jesus are swirling in my head! “For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these!” “What does this mean?” I was asking myself… “What do I need to understand here?” “What behavior do I need to replicate in my own life to become like one of these children?”
Another thought slipped in… “Give an inch and they take a mile!” By this time I’m over the discomfort and am actually feeling a little fanciful, like I’ve stepped into an odd Christian Peter Pan movie set or something. But then I realize, THAT’S exactly what Jesus liked about the children… their open eagerness… their uninhibited spontaneity… their lack of strategy… They were just ready to respond and accept the gift that was being offered.
It’s hard to explain how magical it was at that point. I have to admit, I was sweating there for a moment, but the happy ending came. Brandon finished the song and with a lot of kindness and grace told the kids he was going to sing a ballad next, so they needed to back up and sit down but that he wanted them to stay. It was really a precious sight… like they were there to see Jesus. I think they got a pretty good representation of Him. My hat’s off to Brandon Heath! To "Steel" a line from the aforementioned movie... "He sounds like good people to me!"