Every single weekend, this Jesus lovin’, God fearing girl hits the bars.
Now hear me out … These are probably the very last words you expect out of a Christian blogger’s mouth, right? So here’s the scoop. My husband and I have a band … a duo to be more exact. All this city girl ever wanted was to be a country singer when I grew up, (If you knew how clearly I spoke standard American English, you’d find that dream especially funny!), and to spread a little Jesus to people needing a big ole dose of grace. This dream, in fact, did come true in a round-about and completely unintentional manner.
Every weekend we go to bars to play music. These bars range from restaurants in the ritzy parts of suburbia to a dive bar on the sketchier side of town to a private party in someone’s backyard. There is a common denominator across these venues. I can’t belt into the chorus of “I’ll Fly Away” without people singing and raising their hands and praising some Jesus. It’s beautiful. It’s raw. It’s genuine. It’s full of hope.
On breaks, I’ll overhear my husband talking to people about their faith, or rather, where they lost their faith. I tell ya, my husband is that guy that could talk to a wall about its faith and talk it into going to church on Sunday with the other church walls thinking, ” Oh brother, if these walls could talk.” And I talk to people about my tattoos or bracelets that are small and subtle, but filled with a big ole story of brokenness. And, by golly, we have a little church service.
But then we go to church on Sunday. And it’s normal everyday people who have had their share of brokenness too. They just somehow found their way back after getting lost somewhere along the way. Or they may have been lucky enough to never get that lost at all. It’s middle-class America longing for grace and forgiveness and love, but they aren’t throwing their hands in the air and praising like those lost souls … or at least not in quite the same way. Now don’t get me wrong … It’s beautiful, and fills us up, and we love our church family dearly, but I think we sometimes forget that feeling of raw and unashamed hope.
For years, I’ve watched church after church push missions and helping people, and I can’t help but agree and throw my money and prayers that way. Then I remember those people on bar stools singing, “No more cold iron shackles on my feet … I’ll fly away.” They are filled with a little less of the holy type of Spirit and a little more of the potato whiskey type of spirit, but their eyes tell it all. They are so lost, but they haven’t lost hope.
Perhaps our biggest mission should indeed be these people in the middle places. Although missions here and abroad to the homeless and needy and orphans are incredibly important and deserve our resources of time and money, are we possibly missing the boat a little? Are we often walking right by the Mary Magdalene or the Zacchaeus or James, who has fallen into a seemingly terminal place of brokenness? The soul longing to serve God, but whose troubled past has frightened him into stumbling down a darker road. The beautifully broken person unabashedly praising God in a bar, but is ashamed to show her face in the sanctuary?
Just think of the legacy these people in the middle could leave. Think of the passion for those less fortunate they’d have. There is something about adorning a scarlet letter lending to a humble heart truly appreciative of grace. There is something about a person shown mercy that leads to a servant’s heart. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
And although overlooked, those people on that barstool long for something more. They long for something more right now!!
They are simply afraid, but willing to listen to a gospel song in the middle of a rock and country show in a bar. Are we, the church, perhaps missing these beautiful souls ready for battle and ready to make a grassroots revival because bars are an uncertain venue that doesn’t do much for the Christian facade most of us like to maintain?
When I sit next to my husband, and he is talking to a drunk man about his past and his future, while empathizing and praying for him because he truly knows how hard it all is, I see the face of Jesus. Because the God I serve sent His precious Son to a dark and dirty world. Because Jesus chose murderers and adulterers and mess-ups that today would be drinking their life away in a bar … entertained by a couple of musicians who are sinners saved by grace … wanting to give a little love … begging to never cast the first stone.The God I serve searches for every single lost soul. And I get to join Him!Click To Tweet