At most Christian conferences I’ve been to, the musical worship often seems like a feel-good warm-up routine to get people feeling spiritual. At Revoice, the songs (a refreshingly seamless mix of classic and contemporary) took on new depth and meaning. Lines like “And as he stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,” and “My sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,” and the entire song, “Nearer, My God, to Thee” — which I will never be able to see or hear the same way again — actually meant something real, something palpable. The grief and pain and hope and fidelity in the room of around 400 people was weighty and almost tangible. Multiple times I felt a squeezing in my chest and tears leaking from my eyes.
It was the most costly display of repentance and faithfulness I’ve ever seen in the contemporary western church. In our (dominant white American) culture, we don’t have a lot of visible cases of significant sacrifice for the Christian faith. While we shouldn’t discount the sacrifices of our brothers and sisters in other settings, there’s something visceral about proximitythat we can more easily identify with. To sit and stand with people who look like me and who live where I live, to see them act with such courage, caught between the condemnation of the world and certain misguided sections of the church who can’t recognize what a gift we have in “side B” Christians — I felt so privileged to be able to catch and absorb some of that courage.