Hillsong United Aftermath Album Cover | Hillsong United Album Covers
Toronto hosted 3 major concerts during this past, lovely August weekend: Britney Spears, Ke$ha and Hillsong United. My reflections on all three are impossible because I only went to one. 🙂 On Saturday night, August 13th, a group from our church went to the Hillsong United “Aftermath” Worship Experience at the Molson Amphitheatre. Who are Hillsong United? Well, explore the links below for some context, but it has been a globally influential music ministry for a few decades now. You likely have sung their songs if you go to a church! The Hillsong lyrics and gospel presentation are consistenly characterized by contemporary sound, broadly accessible style, experientially touching, theologically light, verbally simple, profoundly true and beautiful affirmations of life in Christ. Buy some of their songs or albums and be blessed!
Before the concert began, as we were mingling about and settling into our seats in the 200 and 300 levels, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that people I knew from London were 4 or 5 rows away, directly behind me! I knew them from Athletes In Action (AIA) at University of Western Ontario (UWO) and North Park Community Church (NPCC). Then, I see someone else: 5 rows back and a section to my left was Pastor Ted Duncan, whom I went to Seminary with at Heritage Theological Seminary. Sharing that experience with them felt like positive continuity from that London era. Some of those people are in the pictures below. Don’t you love divine appointments with old friends? 🙂
Once the concert began, two moments evoked tears of praise.
One happened during the song “I’ll Stand”, while I recalled the fruitful ministry years with AIA at UWO. I can’t sing that song without thinking of Rhys playing it for us during weekly meetings as a bit of a rally cry that whole year! Many of those students have chosen to “stand with arms high and heart abandoned” for Christ in major ways, including Terry (who was there) and Kevin (who is leading a faith adventure with AIA)! I am so proud of them all.
The second moment of tears happened during the song “Take Heart”. Here is why. Recently, I had listened to that song about 40 times during a sleepless night that was brought on by waves of painful memories and discouraging regrets! As I sang that song in the concert, among friends in a crowd of worshippers, there was en emotional release of pain and regret as well as praise for God’s encouragement through the freeing process of recent days. Don’t you love when a song says just the right words for what you need to pray?! 🙂
At the risk of Sunday morning voice quality and energy level, I raised my hands, jumped with the crowd, prayed my heart out to Jesus with friends until the end of the third encore song. Security finally said, “Move it to the exit” and so we went to the car with ears ringing and souls stirred up. During the car ride debriefing, we all agreed that it was a truly holistic worship experience involving social, spiritual, physical and emotional aspects of our humanity. It was the best Christian concert I have ever been to! I enjoyed Jeremy Camp in April, but this one was way more spectacular in terms of crowd size, venue beauty, audio/visual quality and personal impact on my walk with Jesus.
What will the aftermath of “aftermath” be? Hopefully, the aftermath is momentum towards greater passion to love and serve Jesus among the thousands who gathered. I topped up my CD/Itunes collection with Hillsong stuff, I connected with old friends, I bonded with current church friends, plus felt a release of fresh surrender through praise music. That list can only result in further good things, right?! The people from my church who joined me at the concert are some of my closest pilgrimage companions during this Toronto Trials Time in my life. It was a joy to worship with them on Saturday night and then do the same on Sunday morning at High Park Baptist Church (HPBC).
The aftermath is that I worshipped that night I felt closer to Jesus and my friends going into Sunday morning ministry!
Britney and Kesha missed a great concert that weekend. 🙂
Here are some links, photos and a VIDEO of the event below the links.
I wish you were there!