I was listening to the album Ghost Stories by one of my favorite artists Coldplay yesterday evening. If fact, it was a limited edition live recording of the album. It was amazing. With the music bumping in the car I felt present with the recording. I felt like I was in the room, with the band at the live recording.
As I was listening to Ghost Stories live I noticed the imperfections in live music. The crowd clapped too fast, the singer's voice cracked, somebody shouted over the guitar solo. Technically speaking the live music just wasn't as good. In a studio recording the singer is auto tuned, in the studio there are multiple takes, multiple do overs. A studio album is perfection, yet we're drawn to something more. Something that live music seems to have.
I listen to a lot of live music. Much of the Worship music that finds its place in my iPod is live. Hillsong Conferences, Paul Baloche concerts. I really appreciate the energy and authenticity of a live recording. There's just something about it. Why do we go to a concert? Why do we sacrifice to see music live when we could sit back and enjoy our home albums?
Why do we sacrifice at all to do things? We don't even have to leave our homes to survive in this world. Work from home, entertainment from home, communication from home, you can even get your groceries delivered to your house. Why play a sport when you could watch it? Why sacrifice? To step into the unfamiliar?
In a studio album there's perfection, but in a live recording there's presence.
We're drawn to something more than the perfection of the album. Something more than the perfection of the athlete on TV. In a studio album there's perfection, but in a live recording there's presence. On the TV there's perfection, but in playing the sport there's participation. We're drawn to live music, even in it's imperfection, because we want to feel like we're a part of it. We want to feel connected.
I think this truth has profound meaning for our walk as Christians. That we don't desire to be perfect, but rather we desire to be a part of something. We want to be invested into something powerful, something bigger than ourselves. And we don't want perfection from each other. We want presence with each other. And that God doesn't want perfection from us, but his too is a desire for presence.
May you be filled not with the desire for perfection but for presence. And may you be deeply invested in the world around you.