All that remained Sunday morning as a reminder: a black X on the top of each hand, the re-entry bracelet still around my wrist, a music CD and a band t-shirt. Saturday night, at a Christian Heavy Metal venue in Kettering, Ohio called The Attic, I sat at a table and listened to one of the bands and heard something that woke up my spirit.
Most people in my church circle can’t reconcile the merging of these two phrases. Christian. Heavy Metal. But the genre exists. At an event called Scream the Prayer – a festival tour of Christian Heavy Metal bands screaming lyrics you can barely hear or understand over loud drums and squealing guitars – I looked around and saw young people singing along and dancing (well, flailing around describes it better.)
I sat at a table in the back listening and observing when one of the band leaders began to pray out loud. As he prayed he referenced a scripture I’d heard a thousand times and thought I truly understood…but I was wrong. I didn’t fully understand it until that night. He said, “where two or more are gathered, and I know there are more than two here, there You are also.”
I was suddenly taken aback. This isn’t the sort of place where you would imagine God would show up. At least not God as I had come to know him in church. This place was dark and filled with tattoos and piercings, bright blue and purple hair, long hair, shaved heads, Mohawks, people screaming at the top of their lungs, head banging, hardcore moshing, loud-scary music and singers screaming low growls.
Suddenly when I heard that prayer I felt God’s presence. I felt something jump in my spirit. I finally understood how big God really is. He isn’t as small and narrow-minded as we have made Him out to be. He doesn’t just fit in the church building box we’ve tried to keep Him in. He can be in a place where mainstream, traditional Christians won’t even go, where the dejected congregate, where the different find a home. God loves these people. He adores the hipsters, Goths, Emo and metal heads just as much as he loves the senior saints at the local church.
That’s the God I want to follow.