Our porch lights were on when we pulled up the drive at 1 A.M. last Tuesday morning – Joel, Trent, Janaya, and I. A strong, warm wind was in the trees, and a patch of stars blinked between clouds. (Maybe it’s the way music works in me, but things always seem more vivid and alive after a concert.)
Switchfoot opened for NEEEDTOBREATHE, and we grabbed onto each other as Jon Foreman winged himself around the stage, looking for all the world like a little kid with a guitar, wearing yellow Converse and big T-shirt. He was all smiles and pent-up joy. He hugged everyone in the band, and I got the feeling he would have hugged us, too— all 4,000 of us. He loved on us with his songs, reminding us where we belong, that there’s a love that won’t let us go, and that maybe we need that love to need other (different) people as much as we think they need us.
And there were some different souls glowing pink under the lights. Some brought their wife and kids and wore ear plugs. Some drank beer and moved their hips. Two grown guys in front of us stood up for every song like it was their especial favorite, waving their arms in circles.
The long night ended with “Mercy’s Shore,” and I don’t cry at music, but sometime I do at concerts, and I blinked at a tear when I sang, Someday we’ll wash up on Mercy’s Shore, looking out over the sea of souls.
Jon couldn’t hug ‘em all, but he reminded me that Jesus loves every one— even those who push against him. He isn’t a spectacle for 4,000. He’s a Shepherd who fed 5,000, yet who leaves the crowds to bring one sinful sheep back home (Matt. 18:12). He came to a world of souls he knew better than anyone, with all their blots and bruises, and laid himself down so those souls could cling to him (and sing to him) until the Day they wash up where they’ve always belonged.