Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Singing Rocks

The headline reads “Opera Company of Philadelphia Rallies Over 650 Singers To Surprise Macy’s Shoppers With A Random Act of Culture.” (See Apparently it is a regular occurrence to hear an organ play classical music at the Macy’s in Philadelphia. In the middle on one such regular occurrence the organ launched into the opening score of Handel’s Messiah and suddenly hundreds of voices burst into song with a loud “Hallelujah.” Each singer had gathered within Macy’s pretending to get a head start on their Holiday purchases. But soon they became heralds of good tidings to unsuspecting bystanders.

As I watched the video I wept. For all their randomness they had not chosen a random song at all. The lyrics to the Hallelujah Chorus are the most sublime and glorious words of praise that can be uttered. There’s no holding back and no room to mistake exactly Who is being lifted up:

“Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!”

It reminded me of the scene when Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem: “The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out’” (Luke 19:37-40). As I watched the joyful singers interspersed throughout the crowd of shoppers I felt like rocks were singing.

I am so encouraged by the imaginative delight of our Lord who finds creative outlets to display His glory. I can see Jesus elbowing Peter and with a grin saying, “Watch this; I’m about to bless Macy’s socks off!” So what if it is called a “random display of culture.” Hundreds of voices joined in a heavenly chorus while standing smack dab in the middle of a shopping mall, the real estate most dedicated to American greed and idolatry in our culture. Most moving to me was the woman who had her hands raised and face uplifted as she sang along. People were lifting babies over their heads, smiling and hugging one another, and of course pulling out pocket camcorders to take the holy moment home. It was incredibly beautiful. As the song came to a close the whole place erupted into glorious applause. I stood there in my kitchen watching in wonder, tears streaming down my face, my sweet baby in my arms. And as we watched the clapping my sweet baby began to clap along.

I have reflected much over this eruption of God’s glory in the middle of the ordinary. I have come to the conclusion that God has His own mysterious ways of displaying His glory and righteousness to our world. Because it is mystery, we cannot command it. We can only live as receptive vessels, willing to be filled with it and poured out for it.

As I close I want to share the most brilliant outpouring of God’s glory I have ever seen, the most riveting demonstration of human willingness I have ever witnessed. A precious couple I know has experienced an unimaginable loss recently. My heart has been broken for them, I weep for them often, I send up prayers for them daily. The thing is, in the midst of something so unspeakably awful, I see Jesus. Because they are reflecting Him. They continue to love Him, serve Him, and seek through their tragedy to bring a message of His love and hope to those around them. And not because they see themselves as strong, but because they see themselves as His. I am so humbled by their honest and raw desire to simply be His, even when the world as they once knew it has fallen apart. Every time I see them I come away loving Him more.

That is what revealing God’s glory is all about. When we witness it, we come away loving Him more. And finally I have found the thing I have been trying to say all along. The most important thing we will ever do with our lives is inspire someone else to want to know Him and love Him. By grace made perfect in our weakness. By random acts of culture. By unguarded and unreserved willingness to be His.

This is me trusting,