I once was in a rock band.
Growing up during the “grunge era” of the 1990s, most of high school was filled with the sounds of Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Radiohead, or Pearl Jam.
With dreams of fame and fortune, my friend and I put a band together. Our name was so ridiculous that I am ashamed to share it here. I couldn’t play an instrument. My voice was anything but unique (let alone pleasing to the ear). We went through two guitarists in as many weeks. We never could find a drummer. But that did not keep us from writing music (and fashioning our hair) after the latest Oasis hit. We had two full practices. And to our shock and dismay, we never landed a gig.
So was I really ever in a band? Was what we produced ever more than noise? No one was given (or would have wanted to be given) the opportunity to listen to us. Maybe we were just playing the part. We did everything but make actual music.
The unfortunate reality is that we never stop pretending. Compare making music to that of following Jesus Christ. How often have we confused going to church with being the church. Feeling good while failing to do any good? One Biblical author wrote, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27, NLT).
How often do we expect others to come to us rather than do whatever is necessary to meet them where they are at (and then be willing to take them where they need to be)? The good news was meant to be shared and showed. Using words and actions. Isn’t this the way that Christ lived and died (and then rose again)? The great majority of his signs and wonders took place in the marketplace rather than in the synagogue. He enjoyed conversations with the cultural outcasts as much (if not more) than with the religious elite. He even was crucified amongst thieves – on a hillside where his sacrifice could not be missed.
Imagine if we all stopped pretending?
If we admitted that we were given what we did not deserve rather than claim we earned everything that we had? If we grieved with the hurting rather than act as if they had it coming to them? If we used what strength we had to help people rather than to hurt them? If we valued sacrifice over satisfaction? If we showed mercy to others the way that we show it to ourselves? If we examined our hearts before focusing on someone else? If we made things right rather than just wanted to be right? If we went wherever (and to whomever) regardless of the cost to ourselves?
By the way, Glint was our band name. Good thing we were just pretending….