We sat down in the back in a row of three seats, one for each of us. Grandma and Grandpa watched Ty since he may have been a little too “next generation.” We were stationed right next to the video cameras so Gabe was geeking out already. As the event drew closer to beginning more and more people (college/high school kids) filed in. The first surprise of the evening, and a possible sign we may not belong, was Gabe knew more people there then we did. A couple girls who help out with the three year olds during D6, our Wednesday night family ministry, came up and asked Gabe how he was doing. Hollie and I had little to no idea who they were. Gabe, of course, managed to maintain conversation, hammed it up, and ended by letting them know he wanted to play drums. Our lead pastor came up and tickle tortured Gabe and asked how he was doing. Not that we don’t know Troy, but he now teaches the three’s on Wednesday nights since adopting a couple boys around Gabe’s age from Africa. Gabe most likely knows him better then Hollie or me now.
Soon Mark fired things up and Anthem began. It was incredible to enter into worship with such a united crowd. The songs and lyrics that have been written by the Anthem band are incredible too. Heart check number two soon came to fruition. Once the worship started I threw Gabe up on my shoulders so he could see and partake. Hollie said he sat there on my shoulder just soaking it all in. He reveled in God’s presence in that place– from the talented musicians & singers, to the amazing show of lights & graphics. I stood there critiquing the performance and analyzing if it lived up to the hype. This is a curse I refined through architecture school and find it hampers my full appreciation of just about anything. Gabe did not have that baggage. So, when a Selah came across the screen showing the vastness of God’s universe all I heard on my shoulders was “whoa” & “wow” repeatedly in whispered awe. It caused me pause. Soon Gabe was rocking on my shoulders and in my peripheral vision I could see his arms flailing air drumsticks along with the drum solo as the universe zoomed by on screen. Gabe didn’t care who saw him or what they thought, he was fully entering into worship and celebrating God.
I didn’t expect the three year old on my shoulders to help me truly enter into worship of the one true Creator. My third heart check soon followed, again with the help of a hoisted three year old. As the graphics on the screen came to a close I bowed my head in prayer. As I did Gabe leaned into the back of my head and my head soon went from eight pounds to a hefty 30. Normally this would peturb me, but the Holy Spirit caused a flood within me. My first thought was that this is how heavy my head should be in bowing humbly before my Lord and Savior. Soon, a message delivered a few weeks ago from Matthew 18:1-14 rushed into my head. As my oldest son sat on my shoulders I reflected on those verses. I reflected on Christ’s teaching of humility that “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” thinking back to Gabe’s “whoas” & “wows” reacting to God’s creation presented on screen. Then, as the weight was straining on my neck, I reflected on my duty to the boy on my shoulders who would become a man. The words “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” The band played on and I prayed to God to help me. To help me teach, as well as to learn from this next generation up on my shoulders. God, help me to teach him the way he should go. God, help me to learn the honest humility and awe he has in his heart toward you. God, let me not cause this little one to sin, let my life be humble, honest, awestruck for you. Help me Lord, help me.
Soon the moment faded as Gabe started whisperelling (whisper yelling) to Mom he needed to go to the bathroom. He resumed his place on my shoulders after he got back. After awhile he began grabbing at his feet saying they tickled, which meant they had fallen asleep. We had come that evening fully expecting to just check it out and let Gabe listen to some music. It was going to be a pop in and out with a three year old, right? We checked the time and it was already eight o’clock, Gabe’s bedtime. An hour of worship had passed and it had been a full hour and a half since we had gotten there. Gabe not only shocked and stunned me for paying rapt attention that long, but God shocked me in how he used that boy for my own heart check that night. Rock on Anthem. Perhaps when Mark is 50 and still looks 25 Gabe will be pounding some real drums for the Lord. Make a joyful noise. Selah.