Shortly after Coldplay burst onto the American music scene, the band’s presence was felt on the American church music scene as well. Sometimes you could see it in the way the worship leader dressed, skipped around the stage, or played the piano. Often you could hear it in the electric guitar riffs that swelled between choruses and verses. I always noticed it most acutely in that one drumbeat — you know the one — POP-puh-puh-POP-puh-puh-POP-puh-POP …
Oh, and there were also the churches who were a bit more on-the-nose with their Coldplay affinity when they actually covered tunes such as “Fix You,” “The Scientist,” or “Viva la Vida.”
Last Sunday I was pleased when Coldplay made a different kind of appearance in the worship service at Irving Bible Church. Our worship pastor, Jason Elwell, took a moment to explain that he and his wife were randomly watching a Coldplay concert film on Netflix when he heard something that grabbed his attention.
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin was expounding on the dynamics of a live performance when he said this:
“Every show is different. When the lights go down, that’s 30,000 people’s lives colliding for that one moment. Everyone there that’s working is working for that one moment, everyone there watching is watching for that one moment. It’s when you’re all kind of in agreement about what you’re doing at that time, so it’s a wonderful feeling of togetherness and possibility.” — Chris Martin
Certainly a gathering of believers can be (and perhaps should be) a colliding of lives. Hopefully, there’s some level of anticipation about what will happen as we gather in the presence of God, knowing that Christ has promised to be present with us as well.
Maybe the question for us is whether we’ll honor the collision, the anticipation, the agreement, and the possibility bound up in worship by telling the story of God and inviting people into it. Anything less than that is, at best, a concert or, at worst, a sanctimonious town hall meeting.
Concerts are enjoyable and town hall meetings are informative, but neither is likely to yield any lasting affect. For us to honor the gathering, the moment, is to incite that which is truly transcendent and transformative. And as we do our work together, the work of the people, we know we can trust God to do His too.
From there, the possibilities are endless.