The audience was mesmerised. Their eyes were fixed in breathless appreciation on the musicians at the front of the room as the pianist […]
The audience was mesmerised. Their eyes were fixed in breathless appreciation on the musicians at the front of the room as the pianist and the singer poured their souls into the music, voices blending in smooth harmonies. Unusually, it was not a concert hall that held the attentive crowd, but rather a simple living room.
My boyfriend and I had been invited to this house concert by its host, Andy. Although the night’s featured singer had made several television and concert appearances, we hadn’t heard of her before. But we knew Andy, and we trusted him, so we decided to attend.
People of all ages and backgrounds squeezed into an unassuming living room, drawn together by their love of music. We laughed and sighed together over the stories behind the songs as the artists explained the pieces written for an anti-bullying campaign or inspired by the singer’s autistic niece, who wanted people to really listen to her. We sang along, joyously out of tune, with well-known songs. Even though we were strangers, during the evening we bonded over our appreciation for the musicians.
Talking with my boyfriend later, I was struck by how the night’s experience was a picture of what church community is—a group of people, coming together from all walks of life, drawn into each other’s company by their love for Jesus, and focused on something beautiful. We may meet as strangers, but we can bond over our shared love for God.
“Besides, why did we go to the gig in the first place?” my boyfriend asked as we discussed the analogy. We didn’t go to the gig because we knew the singer. We went because we knew Andy. And because we knew Andy, we were introduced to something that touched our hearts.
Isn’t that often the same as how we encounter God? I know people who came into church community because of their friendship with someone who already knew Jesus. Young parents who made friends at a church-run toddler group and started attending Sabbath School or Messy Church. A family who became Adventists because over-the-fence chats with their Adventist neighbors turned into Bible studies. A teenage student who brought her parents to the church that hosted her music school. Young adults who became interested in Christianity over coffee-shop conversations and by simply doing life with their friends who knew Jesus.
I was reminded of the biblical story of Nathanael and Philip. When Philip told his friend that he had found the Messiah, “Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth,” Nathanael exclaimed, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
I imagine Philip smiled. “Come and see for yourself,” he said (see John 1:45, 46). Nathanael met Jesus because he knew Philip.
As I reflected on this story, and on our experience at the living room gig, I thought: I want to become the kind of person who draws others to the Creator of music, love, and life itself.
This year, will people meet Jesus because they know you?