I remember when I was not quite a “teeny-bopper.” (Yes, Lord, it was a long time ago… but not THAT long!!!) 🙂 The Beatles were taking the world by storm. I went to the very first showing of their first movie, “A Hard’s Day’s Night,” in Washington DC at the RKO Keith’s movie theater. The theater was packed with teenage (and younger) girls, all jumping up and down and crying and screaming at the top of their lungs. OK… at the top of our, lungs. I, too, had waited in line for hours to get in. Yes, I was “into it” BIG-TIME!!! I did the same thing when The Beatles came to DC for their first stateside gig at RFK Stadium. We (in the crowd) saw them live… and thought we would die of sheer ecstasy overload.
It was all harmless enough, right? 🙂
The NFL playoffs are in full swing right now. Maybe it isn’t exactly the same as The Beatles (at least not for me!), but once again the stadiums are packed with fans of all ages who are often jumping up and down and screaming at the top of their lungs. Sometimes they’re even crying, like some players were in a recent playoff game. One team had made the most stunning comeback in playoff history to win the game in overtime; the players on the team that led most of the game were shell-shocked, many to the point of tears. But before then… the fans seemed to be competing to see who could yell the loudest and impact the play on the field, as if hoping their deafening roar would disrupt the opposing team’s offense. And what about those who paint their semi-naked bodies in the team’s colors???
It is all harmless enough, right? 🙂
A cheering crowd can sway us. Funny, though. When I was faced with the “cultural revolution” The Beatles were ushering in, I remember being conscious of others in the crowd… what they were doing, how they were feeling and acting. And I wanted to be part of it. I remember consciously letting myself get swept up in the moment. Suddenly, I belonged in this crowd of people I didn’t even know. Like our hearts were all beating as one. It felt good to belong, to not be different.
Fast forward to today, when I am “into” a different crowd. A community. More than that… a Family. Your Family, Lord. Where the sense of belonging is unlike anything I have ever known! And where I am smack dab in the middle of another cultural revolution underway in the world. There are times when the larger crowd around me is cheering loudly for something I know is far from Your heart. I know this because You have said it in this priceless treasure You left us — Your Word. Recently, a leader took a stand that I know grieved Your heart. And the crowd cheered.
It isn’t harmless anymore… is it, Lord? 🙁
When (and why) do the cheers of a crowd sway us? Which crowds should we give ourselves over to? Which crowds should we resist, so we are not swept away? Who, after all, should we really be seeking to please?
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
In the words of the first Beatles’ hit: I wanna hold Your hand, Lord…