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Candle Lighting
Photo: Christina Canwell
For the fourth summer in a row, my husband and I have packed our tent, food, sunscreen, and ear plugs, and taken our teenage daughter to a four-day Christian concert event. Beyond the stage at this outdoor amphitheater is a beautiful panoramic view of the Columbia River Gorge--God’s creation, untouched. In front of the stage is a large, flat concrete area where most teens and young adults gather to listen. We learned that this area is called the “mosh pit.” But it’s respectful moshing, where basically the kids jump up and down, clapping and praising God during the livelier songs. Past the concrete is a grassy slope where most of the adults sit.

What keeps us going back every year is what we learned from our daughter that first year. After one particular concert, she came running up the hill and said, “Mom! What did you think about that?!” I was honest when I answered, “Well, honey, it seemed a bit rocky to me.” With a confused and earnest look she replied, “But Mom, didn’t you see all those kids crying? There wasn’t a dry eye around me. Everyone was touched by the songs.”

That’s when I, as a parent, had to have an open mind. Who’s to say that kids today have to be touched by the same music that touched us in the 70’s…or 60’s…or 50’s! And who’s to stand in judgment of Christian bands that seem to be reaching kids with the lyrics of their songs and personal testimonies? How can we adults say that their music is “of the devil,” or that anything with a beat can’t be from God? If we so desperately want to keep our youth in the church, maybe we need to listen better to what meets their needs. Maybe there’s a middle ground where we can all find worship.

One Single Candle was Lit

Later that night was the annual candle lighting service. After the final concert, all the outdoor lights were turned off. Candles had been given to each person there—the number being near 20,000. At the front of the stage, one single candle was lit. From up on the hill, our daughter by our sides, we could see the light start to spread until we, too, had lit candles.

The mass was silent as the speaker encouraged us to “let our lights shine,” to recommit our lives to God, and to leave as changed people. The sight of all the candles was an amazing one—a very spiritual moment. That’s when our daughter leaned over and said in my ear, “Look Mom. The devil just lost 20,000 people.”

Tears filled my eyes. This meant something to her. This was “her thing”—her way of connecting with God and worshiping Him. I knew then that as parents, my husband and I needed to support her type of music and style of worship.

The Bible says: "Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord" (Psalms 150:3-6).

So are we planning on going back next summer for a fifth year? Are you kidding? Our daughter is already talking about it!

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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