I will admit that it did look pretty cool. So cool, in fact, that more than a few album covers back in the days of vinyl, sported photos with thousands of little flames lighting the darkness of night in the massive venues.
Somewhere along the way things changed… and more than just me and my priorities. One of the few fads I was ahead of the curve on was cell phones, but purely for business purposes.
After more than three decades steamrolled by with my absence from the mega concert scene, I realized not that much had changed… except for the tradition of “Flick your Bic”.
The skinny kid on stage shouted something about “Get Your Shine On” and the roar of the younger crowd rattled my eardrums. I knew the song, what I didn’t know was the evolution of the “Flick your Bic”
In a matter of moments that amphitheater that fits close to twenty thousand folks was glowing with the soft light, just like they did when I was a kid. But this was a different light. This light wasn’t from a small flame. It was from the thousands of cell phones that accompanied the younger crowd.
I don’t guess it would have done me any good to have had my cell phone with me anyhow, I still don’t know how to find the flashlight on it…
I was mesmerized by the glowing amphitheater and startled by the evolution of “Flick your Bic”. I wondered if the kids knew or even gave a thought to how that tradition started. But that’s life. Change happens.
There was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever go to another concert, not even a country one. Much less one where the lead singer of the country group had long hair and a sleeveless t-shirt. Johnny Cash might be rolling over in his grave.
Music is powerful. People love music and can be drawn together and inspired by it… even at church. At church, there was always music. Always piano, sometimes an organ, but never drums. There was always a song of invitation to wrap up the service and sermon, what they called “an altar call” in those days.
Like the cell phone has replaced the Bic lighter at concerts, the church has changed too. The music sounds like a concert, drums and all, and the altar call is only on occasion.
While none of us have the exact taste in music, I think we would agree that music is a gift. We might not agree on the exact type of church service, but we agree Christ is indeed the cornerstone.
Those of us that call ourselves Christians know that Christ himself told us that the world would know us by the love we have for one another… not the name or style of where and how we worship.
If the Christmas service that traditionally wraps up with all of us holding up lit candles in the sanctuary switches to cell phones… I’ll try to keep my grumbling to myself… then look at the big picture.