With a hilarious interview currently being transcribed and storified (story-fied), here are some pictures captured from the Brocken Spectre/In Contra/Aida show at Southside June 16.
Psalm 34:22 “No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.”
Some characters from the Bible are difficult to identify with. You may not feel the strongest connection to Samuel, Noah, or Job. But David is the Bible’s everyman. To the poor or the young, he is David the shepherd boy; to the eminent, he is David who celebrated majesty with enormous wealth.
We will follow someone we trust anywhere. Having overcome life struggles, David the psalmist is qualified to lead us into worship of God and through whatever life circumstance we find ourselves in. Interestingly enough, Psalm 34 was written after David feigned insanity to escape from trouble with an adversary; Bible times had awkward moments.
Philip Yancey’s The Bible Jesus Read tells how relevant the Psalms are: they contain almost every human emotion imaginable. Many churches fear tears. Many frown at laughter, expecting pious sufferers. But David, the “man after God’s own heart” is not afraid to expose his emotions to God, the creator of emotion. A person who knows God knows He is close to the broken-hearted as well as being the giver of joy.
David’s psalm sets the bar high with the opening line: “I will exalt the LORD at all times. His praise will always be on my lips.” Is this unrealistic? If we magnify God and focus on Him moment by moment, we will be prevented from focussing so much on our problems. Our perspective will be filled with His greatness and His ability to handle our situations. Consider the author. David went through hellish times and is qualified to provide a living example.
David has a lot to say about identity. Much recurrent pain we experience and require healing from stems from a broken identity. We become new by shedding old identities in metamorphosis.
David writes, “Those who look to God are radiant. Their faces are never covered with shame.” Religion has a tendency to shame us by persuading us that we need to attain perfection. However, God’s message to humanity is diametrically opposite. It’s cheeky and potentially offensive how He calls us His “holy people” and “the righteousness of God” before we have even seen the final work of salvation. It is literally unbelievably good news.
He is the one in whom we find our new identity. We shed past wounds by receiving His love. We escape old habits by making Him our source of strength. As we go, He will provide appropriate “fires” in which we can choose refinement. Sadly, we can also choose to take offense and burn out. That’s why David invites the afflicted to join with him in worship. Our perspective will be changed after we taste God’s goodness.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2
Much effort is required to rescue someone, say, from exploitation. Yet the rescue is just the beginning of a new journey. A longer process of healing is needed to lift psychological and emotional weights.
This illustrates sanctification, the journey of transformation that follows salvation. Sanctification means “to grow in grace”. Like a sunflower turns its face towards its namesake, we must also grow to face God and walk into our future with eyes fixed on him.
Transformation begins in the mind. Actions stem from thought patterns: we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we contemplate sin, allow fantasy to take root, or dwell in the past, we entertain deception. Our thinking must be sanctified because 90% of the time, we use our minds as weapons against ourselves.
For lack of a sanctified imagination, one is susceptible to suffering. Falsehood takes root subtly in unguarded minds. Nostalgia can idolize the past instead of trusting in goodness for the days to come. Old pain can distract us from present opportunity, fostering helplessness. Refusing negative thought patterns is part of sanctification.
Without a sanctified imagination, the church has only the world to imitate. It will reproduce bland facsimiles of worldly art, education, economics, relationships, and governance. It follows suit instead of setting an example.
God desires a child-like church that believes anything is possible. Embrace godly imagination: Jesus said to pray for heaven on earth. Is the church dreaming big enough? Some decline the invitation to pray for the impossible, opting instead for safe yet stifling religious principles and platitudes. However, God’s business is doing the impossible. Religion and intellect have not saved humanity and we are not any closer today than before. Saving humanity is God’s domain, and he lives in us. The impossible is nothing.
The prophet Joel wrote that in the end times, God’s people will see visions and dream dreams, presumably ones that will change the world. If the church seeks to carry out God’s plans, it needs the barriers down. The book of Acts references Joel’s prophecy, which the early church lived out, and saw miracles become commonplace. Our imagination must grow in grace or we will resist God instead of dreaming with Him.
Brocken Spectre (Colin Ablitt, Nic Campbell, Colin Campbell, Scott Bjerkness) played our Converge Magazine social on Saturday, June 2, at the gorgeous Five Stones Church in New Westminster (exposed brick, hardwood floors, right on the river).
Playing an unfamiliar venue to a largely-unfamiliar crowd can be a big challenge. Being a social event with appetizers aplenty and drinks flowing, everyone is already pretty chatty. But halfway through their first song, “Parallel Dances“, something magical happened. A stillness was setting over the room; everyone was tuning in. A couple minutes later, and a big round of applause for a band that barely anyone in the room knew (yet).
Brocken Spectre will be playing a show with In Contra and Aida Saturday, June 16 at the Southside Community Church venue. Doors open at 6:39. Tickets are well-worth it at $10.