In a million years, I never thought I’d attend a Christian conference, much less enjoy one. They looked cultish and weird, with fog machines and a band cranking out Jesus songs while people hollered with their arms in the air and tears on their cheeks.
But then I went to one, and for the hundredth time since I began following Jesus like I mean it, I got to admit I was wrong.
How easily we accept the broken state of the world, kind of like we do the presence of smog. We breathe it, we lament it but what can we do?
Christian conferences are a reprieve, because in a stadium filled with people who boldly seek salvation from a God they can’t prove, the smog lifts and the Holy Spirit descends.
I know, because I was at this conference where this artist blew us away with an overhead projector and sand. All weekend, I glimpsed what the brand-new believers felt on the day of Pentecost, when Jesus sent his spirit to inhabit them. I sang with my heart, stood with my hands in the air and hugged the women next to me who I finally realized were my sisters.
Me. The girl who is too smart for all that, fell to her knees and trembled in the presence of God.
It’s hard to go back after that. And it’s painful to walk out of the stadium and into the smog, but that’s what Christians are supposed to do. Fill up with the love of God, then go spill it on people who desperately need it. It’s a system Jesus explained repeatedly to his followers and Jewish religious leaders.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Fill up with love. Pour out love. Repeat.
Have a great weekend.