The youngest child of 7 grows up having precious few hours alone with mom or dad. But as older siblings reach adulthood and head out, together-time becomes available. It’s been just Birgitta and me for the last 3 weeks, hanging out, talking, laughing and doing things one-on-one.
The day before she left, we decided to finish our time with a celebrity event, the Michael Buble’ concert in Milwaukee. Although his big band sound and classic old songs aren’t her style, she accommodated her mother, and we drove to Wisconsin anticipating a good time.
Our seats were in the nose-bleed section, and marching up those last 50 steps felt much like climbing the straight-up ladder of a giant fire truck. But we were surrounded by enthusiastic cohorts and could see the distant stage perfectly.
When Michael appeared, the audience went crazy. Asking for the house lights to be turned up so he could see us, he was thrilled that all 20,000 seats were full and shouted, “I really love you!” causing fresh screams of joy.
I wish I could have known his true thoughts at that moment.
Several times during the evening he stepped off the stage into the crowd, once to kiss a 96 year old fan, another time to walk the length of the floor to a mini-stage where he sang half-a-dozen songs up close and personal with the faithful. He gave himself to the crowd, shaking hands as he sang, snuggling for photos, and high-fiving each person he could reach. It was fun to watch it.
Driving home Birgitta and I chatted about this 35 year old singer who’s in the process of being swept high on a rising star. He told us about the “seedy dives” he’d sung in as a teen, trying to get his career started. But that night fans pushed each other aside to get near the object of their affection and literally jumped up and down reaching for him when he looked in their direction.
Watching the drama unfold from our bird’s eye view, I wondered how long this public devotion would last. The more important question, though, is how can Michael deal successfully with such gushing favoritism? How can he avoid thinking of himself as superior to those of us who paid to hear him sing? Maybe he is superior?
God has a strong opinion about this. He’s closely acquainted with each ticket-holder, from those of us in the cheap seats to the one on center-stage. If asked to rank us, he’d say, “At the bottom, all of you.” In our natural state, none of us, including Michael Buble’, have clout with God, and there’s nothing we can do to remedy that. If we think there is, we’ve misread the Bible.
But there is something God can do about it, and he did it. Because of his love, he worked out salvation’s plan through his only Son. After we put full trust in Jesus, we’ve ridden a rising star all the way to the top, one that will never fall.
The love of music fans is fickle at best, so if Michael wants to find favor that will never fade, he’d better look for it with the Lord.
“God shows no favoritism.” (Acts 10:34b)