Tuesday of last week Tommy, the boys, and I went to Birmingham for Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God tour. We found out about it when we were looking to see when Sara Groves, one of my favorite Christian artists, was going to be close enough for us to see her. The tour actually included several of my favorite artists, Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman, Jill Phillips(and her husband, Andrew Gullahorn), and Andrew Osenga(of Caedmon’s Call). The first part of the show was a round where the artists took turns playing one of their songs. They did this until each had performed two songs. Sara Groves played When the Saints off of her new album and then It’s Gonna Be Alright an old song off of an earlier album that was just a message straight from God to Tommy and me(we had a rather stormy morning). Then Jill Phillips played one of my favorite songs ever I Am which is also one of her older songs. The second half of the show was all of the artists performing Andrew’s musical story of Jesus starting with the Israelites need for a deliverer and ending with Jesus’ birth.
I am always impressed when I find out that an artist I enjoy is really the real deal. That’s the case with Bebo Norman. We heard him perform in Starkville a couple of months ago. He did the same talk promoting sponsoring children through Compassion International. Both times he said, “If it comes down to sponsoring a child or buying my junk, I’d rather you sponsor a child.” He said that Andrew Peterson felt the same way and that he (Andrew) would give his album free to everyone who sponsored a child. He also said that he and Andrew have both had the chance to travel around the world and see the needs of people. Bebo said that they both came to the conclusion that “There has to be more than standing on stage singing songs.” So this is why they are promoting Compassion.
We already sponsor three World Vision children, one for each of our boys. I would like to sponsor more someday. One man at the sales table said that he and his family sponsor seven children. That’s awesome!
I did buy Bebo’s Christmas cd, and I am so glad I did! It is my new favorite Christmas cd! I bought it mainly because of a song Bebo performed called The Rebel Jesus. It is a Jackson Browne song. Bebo explains in the cd case that the whole album is built around that song. It is powerful! Here are the words:
All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurry into their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
We’ll be gathering around our hearths and tables
Giving thanks for all God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
Oh they call Him by the Prince of Peace
And they call Him by the Savior
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill His churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in Him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.
I love the message of this song because too often we equate being Christians with being good citizens or just nice people. Jesus was not “nice” to the Pharisees. He directly confronted the establishment because of the evil He saw at work in it. I believe that as followers of Christ we are called to do the same to confront and try to change the injustices in our world.
I am becoming more and more passionate about the injustice of the way my family lives compared to the way other people in the world live. And not just far away parts of the world. There are housing projects a few blocks from my house. God is teaching me so many thing through interactions with people I’ve met in the projects. I believe the passion I’m feeling is not just because I’m a kind-hearted person. It’s God’s transforming work in me. He’s transforming me slowly into the image of Christ. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I do believe that Jesus would be outraged at the comfort we allow ourselves to live in while others of the world are enduring terrible suffering.
There are so many different aspects to this. And I hope to write more on this later and to share some of my experiences. Mostly I hope to look more and more like the rebel Jesus.