I recently had an opportunity to see Jake Shimabukuro, an amazing ukelele player, in concert. Sitting in the packed Fitsgerald Theater, I started thinking about how frivolous a concert really is. There are so many other things we could be spending our time and money on. Then Jake started playing this beautiful song, inspired by a vision his friend's dying grandmother had.
Watching him on the stage it was clear that he was doing what he was made to do. He moved as though the instrument was a part of his body and he couldn't help but make music. He was so fully engaged that he might have been standing alone instead of in front of hundreds of people. The quote from Saint Irenaeus came to mind; "The glory of God is man fully alive." As the crowd gave him a standing ovation, it felt a bit like worship. Not worship of the musician, but of something bigger that had swept us all away from the mundane and practical for a few minutes. I cheered for the music, but also for the God who makes a man and fills him with music just so that he can share it and lift a whole room of people closer to His presence.
I look for God at church, in the Bible, in prayer and even through my own deeds. I had never thought to seek God by witnessing the passion and giftedness of another until that concert. Part of the reason for this stems from a shallow understanding of salvation. When I first became a Christian my understanding was that Jesus came so that I can go to heaven. This led to a sort of survivalist faith. Just get through life without screwing up so big that you go to hell. But as I learn more about God, I see that His purposes for us are much more rich and wild than this. Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). That means a life of passion, courage, hope, creativity and joy.
Though my understanding of salvation has grown, I still fight a voice that tells me to just buckle down and get through the day. The excitement of being fully alive to God gets lost in dishes and meetings and diapers and Bible studies. I learned this month that by witnessing someone else being fully alive, I'm drawn into the hope of receiving the abundant life Jesus came to offer. If you need to be so inspired, you can find some great videos of Jake Shimabukuro on YouTube : )