Monday, October 14, 2013

Gentlemen of the Road Tour 2013

I recently had a great weekend with my daughter, son, and my son's wife at the final stop of the Gentlemen of the Road tour in St. Augustine, Florida. It was another reminder of how much I love live music, and why I need more of it in my life. Included among the many performers were Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, as well as the keynote act of Mumford & Sons.

During his show, Edward Sharpe passed the microphone to the audience and asked for comments. One girl shouted into the microphone, "Thank you for giving me a wonderful spiritual experience."

And it was the next night as we were streaming off the field after the final show by Mumford & Sons that it hit me. Actually it was a three-fold revelation. First was that every one of those thousands of young people - at 65 I was probably one of the oldest people there - had had a profound and authentic spiritual experience. As they sang "Awake my soul" with Marcus Mumford their minds were opened, their hearts uplifted, and their souls refreshed. They realized instinctively that they were united by the power of the music, connected not only with themselves and each other but with the entire universe.

My second realization was that very few of those young people would be sitting in church Sunday morning, and it wasn't just because of lack of sleep. Why should they be? Why should they listen to a traditional Christian message telling them they are sinful by nature, exiled from God and in need of salvation, doing battle every day with a devil who is trying to entice them off the straight and narrow path that will lead to paradise somewhere out in space? It is not a message that resonates with them because it doesn't fit in with their instinctive understanding of what they really are.

The third thing that occurred to me was the most amazing of all. God itself, that great Power of Love that permeates the universe, individually created each of those attendees so that God - call it the Great Spirit, Divine Mind, Supreme Being or whatever you will - could experience that concert through them. Since God is Spirit and not a personality with emotions, it does not have the capacity to feel or have experiences. When it realized eons ago that it wanted to know more than it could in its formless spiritual state, it came up with the master plan of the ages. It would design a universe that 14 billion years later would include a planet called earth to be populated by people with minds and emotions to experience all the things God longed for but was unable to such as adventure, risk, loss, laughter, sadness, anger, desire, and ecstasy. God would live within them so that it could experience everything it had dreamed about but could not actually feel all those untold trillions of years.

And it would all culminate on Saturday, September 14, 2013, with God tapping his feet, snapping his fingers, a broad smile across his ruddy face, dancing a jig with Jesus and the Holy Ghost as they joined in with thousands of their favorite people who were all singing along with the voice blaring out of the microphone,

"But it was not your fault but mine,
And it was your heart on the line,
I really fucked it up this time,
Didn't I my love?
Didn't I my love?"