what if i stumble – dc talk you always remember your first. concert, that is. at least, dc talk and michael w. smith was my first Christian concert. it was my senior year of high school, i was a new believer and calling me excited would be putting it mildly. getting to ride with some new friends all the way to kansas city to see the show at memorial hall (does anybody still perform there?) on a school night was pretty cool.
never mind that smitty forgot the words in the middle of “place in this world.” never mind that kevin max was and is kind of a snob. i don’t think i’ve had that much fun at maybe a half dozen other shows in the 21 years since. dc talk has, of course, disbanded since then, with each moving on to other ventures. after michael tait becoming frontman for newsboys, and now kevin max is fronting a resurrected audio adrenaline, i’m half expecting to hear that toby mac will be leading a revival of petra!
the lyrics are as relevant to me today as ever. anybody in a position of visibility, whether in front of crowds of thousands or a handful of students, needs to be mindful of the impact of even seemingly minor choices. but being crippled by fear of falling, whether for its effect on young people or somehow thinking God’s love will diminish, is simply not healthy. it seems that openness, authenticity, and vulnerability, within proper boundaries, will help students understand that the live of faith can be lived out in the real world. it’s not easy, but if the yoke fits…
wind beneath my wings – bette midler let’s make a couple things clear. i’m not the most disgustingly macho guy, i do have a sensitive side, and i’ve been known to watch romantic comedies without any lasting damage. but “beaches” is just too chick-flick for me. i actually did try to watch it once, but yawning so much was hurting my jaw.
on opening night of a play i had worked incredibly hard toward, the director/ theater teacher (“doc” if you went to manhattan high and remember him) had the cast stand in a circle and hold hands. apparently in those days you could still do that, before secondary schools were declared “no-touching” zones. he played this song and shared how we helped him live his dreams. somehow we managed to actually get to the performance without the majority of us needing to touch up our stage makeup.
as i mentioned, i’ve got a sensitive side, and i’m not afraid to have a good cry. in fact, after the death of aids patient ryan white, i crafted an expository address for high school forensics (it got me to the state tournament) about the value of crying. after the play was over i went out and bought the “beaches” soundtrack so i could listen over and over again, hoping to recreate the moment on command. it didn’t work.
that’s the danger of living too much according to experience. it happens all the time with youth group retreats and camps. the mountaintop high doesn’t last in the real world, so we sing the songs or light the candles again, trying to conjure the same emotional state. surely God can’t be present in my day-to-day life like He was then…? live in daily, moment-by-moment awareness of God’s nearness, and it won’t take low lighting, acoustic guitar, or a puddle of tears. the abundant life centers on knowing that all of creation, every square inch, is radiant with God’s glorious presence.
bring him home – colm wilkinson as jean valjean few works of literature connect with the human longing for redemption more powerfully than les miserables. two of the items on my bucket list involve this story: finishing the victor hugo novel and seeing the musical with at least an off-broadway cast.
that’s not to say we’ve never seen the stage show. i think we’ve seen the “school” version 2 or 3 times. until our friend autumn brought down the house as eponine, it wasn’t until “bring him home” that the, uh, room got dusty. to say i’m looking forward to the movie version this year would be like saying a 5-year-old would be ok with santa coming.
you raise me up – josh groban i’m pretty sure josh and i were separated at birth. well, then he must have been placed in suspended animation for a bunch of years. anyway, i can say that in the last 6 or 8 years, the times i’ve sung for people (and granted, it’s been less frequently than i’d like) it’s always been the josh groban songs that have received the best response.
in fact, take a listen to the best-quality demo i’ve recorded.
based on the don mclean song, groban’s version of “vincent (starry night)” has all the right range and expression for my voice. i sang it for 4th grade art classes one year when they were doing a piece inspired by the van gogh painting of the same name.
but back to the song featured below. much like the message of the “divine miss m” song earlier today, we need each other. let’s be the support and inspiration that someone else needs, and when we need help ourselves, may God be present to us in the face, voice, shoulder, and hands of the person we encounter.
for tomorrow: the rule breakers.