This is Jason Gray.
On February 19 , 2012, he blessed my faith community and our guests with his words and his music. We’re still talking about it, and I suspect we will be for quite a while yet.
I want to share with you a few of the things I’ve heard this past week:
“Jason changed my way of thinking.”
“… we truly felt ministered to instead of performed for. Performances can be good and entertaining, but when they’re an end in themselves then they’re quite temporal! What’s done in the Spirit, to the glory of God, for the building up of the saints, is eternal.”
“We need more of this kind of thing.”
“I would’ve never associated the word “lovely” with “loser” until I heard Jason Gray’s song “Blessed Be” at last Sunday’s concert.”
“Such an inspiring man that God has blessed our world with. If you don’t know his music, or story, you need to. “
“Thank you so much my dear friend for bringing Jason Gray into my life and our church. He is an amazing man who loves the Lord with all his heart, mind and soul. What a great lesson he brought to us from his life and his speech disability. Loved him!!!”
“Thank you so much Jason for your message of hope for all!”
“Jason Gray was amazing last night. What an amazing way to experience the Gospel.”
It was a Kingdom-building kind of night, in which Grace and Love were named, claimed, and celebrated, and the ripples continue to wash over and around us.
The first time I heard Jason play live was during a season of turmoil and anguish within my faith family. My community was badly broken, and many relationships had been severely damaged. I couldn’t imagine the estrangement ever ending.
That night, Jason shared a quote by Frederick Buechner:
“But the worst isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best. It’s the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock-bottom worst of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last, best thing is the laughing deep in the hearts of the saints, sometimes our hearts even. Yes. You are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes. You are healed. All is well… “
I clung to that idea that the worst isn’t the last thing, and though my head believed it, my heart wasn’t so sure it could be true.
Some years have now passed (years!), and I have lived long enough to see that the end of a chapter, no matter how dark and bleak, isn’t the end of the story. One day everything sad, every last sadness, will come untrue. And if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we will see bits of the Kingdom restored and repaired during our lifetimes, even as we see it broken and torn. As Christians, we know how the story finally ends. So while we grieve what is broken, we live in the hope of what is being restored, and in the certainty that in the end, nothing has been wasted.
Daily, I am watching the Lord work miracles in my community. Forgiveness and healing are taking root, and we are finding the courage to run the risk of fearlessly loving once again.
Lord, continue to remind us who we are, and help us to live out of that identity. Thank you for using Jason to speak and sing your peace over us. Amen.