Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
In his book, “Desiring the Kingdom”, James K. A. Smith suggests that we are not primarily ‘brains on a stick’ or thinking beings, but rather we are ‘desiring’ and loving beings. Regardless of what we claim to believe, we do what we love. Our identity is shaped by what we love as ultimate, “what at the end of the day gives us a sense of meaning, purpose, understanding, and orientation.”
Smith goes on to say that “what we desire or love ultimately is a vision of what we hope for, what we think the good life looks like.” The real question, then, is how do we shape our hearts to love and desire what is truly good? Here is the crux of Smith’s book. Our desires are not molded primarily by a deposit of information, but instead by the liturgies of life, those practices, whether ‘sacred’ or ‘secular’ that train our hearts to value certain things, to aim for certain goals, to pursue certain dreams. All around us competing secular liturgies vie for our hearts affections.
In a brilliant illustration, Smith describes the shopping mall as a modern-day cathedral. When we walk into a mall we are not handed a statement of faith or a brochure of the mall’s beliefs. But make no mistake about it; the mall is not a neutral place. We are hit with a very visceral, tactile experience with sights, sounds and smells. All of it is very powerfully pointing to the mall’s vision of “the good life.”
What does this have to do with concert ministry? A night of music ministry can, through songs, worship, prayer, stories, gospel reminders and messages, point hearts heavenward and help focus affection on the only true prize. I’ve seen it happen. By the power of God’s Spirit and His gracious working, I’ve seen eyes opened to recognize Jesus as the one true Treasure. I’ve seen the wanderer come home, the discouraged sing songs of hope, the poor rejoice in the wealth of their eternal inheritance and the weary find strength at the foot of the cross.
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