Friday, November 21, 2008

Coldplay Like God (Great Expectations)

As I was sitting at Coldplay, I realized that they were like God. Wait, before you question whether or not I’m pulling my golden calf out of the furnace, hear me out.

When I went to see Coldplay for the first time a few weeks ago, I was expectant but had no idea what those expectations looked like. I knew it would be good, but I didn’t know HOW good. My seats were perfect too. I had a perfect view of the stage, great acoustics, and they even came out from the stage to the tier right below me. I had paid 2nd tier prices for 8th row seats (well, for at least 2 songs)  A-mazing…I almost cried at one point. I can’t even explain the emotion I felt because of my life situation at that moment. I was with one of my best friends, away from work (destressed), and in sunny Florida sharing space with Chris Martin. Does it get better??

Well, if one show is good, isn’t a 2nd show better? That was my mindset as I bought one lonely ticket to the Dallas show for that next week (that was all they had left, I might add). I fought traffic solo, parked, bundled up in the wind, and braced myself for the hike to my nosebleed seats that I swear were situated in the Himalayas. In fact, I was in what I call the “echo nook” of the AAC—it trapped all the echoes and bounced them back and forth like a game of “keep away.” Only, I was the sad little kid in the middle. Not good. I certainly enjoyed the performance, but I honestly felt a little slighted. At one point I thought, “I’m sure glad I had Orlando because I know they sound better than this (and for the record, it was still phenomenal). I kind of felt sorry for the folks who experienced Coldplay like that. I watched as some walked out early and others left to use the bathroom in the middle of ‘Fix You’ (what?!) Part of me wanted to stop them and start explaining how amazing it could be. What good would that do? It doesn’t change their experience…but it also doesn’t change the truth that Coldplay is much better than this. It was all a matter of distorted experience and circumstance.

THAT is when I realized how much this is like my feelings toward the LORD. How often do I come to Him with a plan already mapped out, expectantly waiting for Him to “recreate” His 1st performance by my standards. But, by the nature of location and emotional circumstance, it is never what I expect (even if it was the exact plan I’d had—it wouldn’t meet my precise expectations). Just as a music note travels a different path in a different venue, so God cannot be measured or calculated. We can never guess the mind and plan of the LORD.

Even when my experience with Him tells me that He “let me down” or failed my great expectations, it doesn’t change the Universal Truth of His promises or how magnificent He is. He makes no apology for where you are sitting—how close or far depends on you. If you put yourself in a nosebleed echo chamber, the fault is not His. That same dissonance you hear from there is a spine-tingling masterpiece to those in correct proximity. God designed you to sit on the front row of creation; Himself, center stage. That scenario is the best, but certainly not the only one. I often feel the need to “explain Jesus” to people (or really, stick up for Him), as if He needs ME as His PR person [insert belly laugh here].

I believe I need to keep myself in the front row and allow Him to blow my mind instead of trying to recreate 2nd rate, calculated experiences full of human expectation. I also feel I should start pulling people from the rafters and offer the front row ticket Jesus bought with His life. They need only to pick it up at ‘will call’…