Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hands, feet and personal theme songs

I was kind of kind of surprised to hear the Shea Stadium PA system blare out a heavy metal song when new Met Jeff Conine strode to the plate Sunday night. Not that we know Conine very well yet, but it just didn’t strike me as something he would select.

And since the mind wanders when the Mets are incapable of getting a hit off Dodger relievers, I wondered what it would be like if we all had to pick a theme song for when we entered the room at work, which is essentially what Conine is doing when he carries a bat into the box.

What kind of statement do you want to make?

For me, it would be an easy choice: “Hands and Feet” by Audio Adrenaline.

The band’s final CD -- "Live from Hawaii, the Farewell Concert" -- was released today. Audio A is disbanding because lead singer Mark Stuart’s already raspy voice is shot from years of touring and the members want to go out while still on top.

I had heard of the band, but not necessarily heard much of its music until Sept. 15, 2001 when Audio appeared in Grand Rapids headlining first Festival Con Dios.

“Hands and Feet” was one of the last songs played at the daylong event, and I remember Stuart stepping back and letting the crowd sing the refrain several times, then letting people sing it without the band playing.

“I want to be your hands
I want to be your feet
I’ll go where you send me
I’ll go where you send me
And I try, yeah I try
To touch the world
Like You touched my life
And I’ll find my way
To be your hands”

And as the sound of several thousand people singing this filled the air, I had one of those magic moments of clarity. I got it. I understood what we are supposed to do.

And without getting all preachy here, I understood that we are supposed to do more than just show up at church every Sunday, and then forget everything we are supposed to have learned – until the next Sunday.

I understood that we are in fact, supposed to do His work all the time, and that he might take us places that are uncomfortable and put us into challenging or even scary situations to reach the people who are not easily reached and might need to hear His message. The Lord has touched my life and made it better, and part of our job is to spread his word and do his work.

Which is not to say that I do this well. More times than I care to admit, I fail miserably – like when I wrote mean-spirited things about Derek Jeter in the since-deleted previous post.

But after that night at the concert, I’ve thought about those lyrics a lot. And I’ve tried to think about ways to do his work in uncomfortable places.

One opportunity came up the next year when my church needed someone to lead a middle school youth group and was having trouble finding someone because, well, they’re middle-schoolers.

I gave it a shot, and based the first lesson and activity around “Hands and Feet.” And there are times when working with young people is uncomfortable and scary – and unbelievably rewarding. And you’ve read about some of those adventures in this space before.

This year will be the sixth year that I’ve worked with middle- and high-school students – but not at the same church.

Churches can be messy places, especially when a lot of strong-willed people think they are all doing God’s work and sometimes their ideas contradict. And the one we were attending was getting messier – I’ll spare you the details -- and we were wondering if we should be worshiping elsewhere.

Leaving a church is a tough decision to make. We started checking out another church and it seemed like a great fit, especially with a baseball-loving pastor. But I still felt pulled in both directions. I wanted some kind of sign that we were doing the right thing.

One of the weeks we attended was the new church’s youth Sunday. You want to guess what song the kids performed? My wife said, “What kind of a sign are you waiting for, a burning bush?”

We’ve been there ever since and it’s a wonderful place. And each time I have a new group of kids I share the song with them and we talk about how we can apply it to situations we encounter every day.

I’ve meet the guys in Audio A several times since then, and each time I thought about telling them about the impact “Hands and Feet” has had on me then chickened out. They probably hear such things a lot.

But, in the unlikely event that the Mets call on me once the rosters expand this week, you’ll know what to expect as I head to the plate.

In other words:

I’m a bit of a uniform nut, so I’m an avid reader of Paul Lukas’s http://www.uniwatchblog.com/

But Paul has a column on ESPN, too. Head to the section about he Detroit Tigers and check out who he quoted.


Bob said...

Good quote,Dave.

G-Fafif said...

I'll alternate and come to the plate first to the intro to "Freddie's Dead" by Curtis Mayfield and then, after we bat around, to the bassline from "Tell Me Something Good" by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.