Treasuring Ephemeral Experiences

Sunday night, Nancy and I sat in a church sanctuary to listen to the Concert Choir from Bethel College. We sat about halfway back. Which was perfect for the double choir arrangement that started the concert. With a double choir, usually, there is one choir in the front of the room and one in the back, often in a balcony. There is no miking for amplification. The audience is in the middle. It is a living stereo. We are inside the music.

It is an ephemeral experience. 

There is no way to replicate the sensations of being surrounding by 90 college students who love to sing, who love the One the music is about, who love the director (back from cancer surgery a year ago), who care for each other. There is no way to record the sensation for playback.

Goodness knows I thought about it. With all the recording devices I own, I thought about it. Instead, I abandoned myself to the Agnus Dei. I wept a little at the liveness. I smiled a lot with delight. And I realized that I need to work less on working hard to record, and work more on being transformed.

When Peter saw Jesus and Moses and Elijah chatting together on a mountain, his first response was to suggest building a visitation center. Peter wanted to somehow capture the moment.

But I think Jesus wanted him to be captivated by the moment. To be changed by seeing the improbable. To understand that his personal hero was as impossibly God as his religious heroes were impossibly visible.

I will keep taking pictures. They let me remember the experiences. But sometimes I need to let go of the need to publish and share. Sometimes I need to be the audience, not build an audience. 246497_4724717838139_558761292_n

5 thoughts on “Treasuring Ephemeral Experiences

  1. Frank Reed

    Great reminder, Jon.

    We have created this ‘need’ to memorialize everything then we wonder why we never really enjoyed it instead. Powerful.

    God is for our enjoyment isn’t He? Why do I need to do any more for Him. Honestly, what CAN I do for Him? Nothing except maybe be with Him, nothing more and nothing less.


  2. Rich Dixon

    This one’s tough for me, as I know it is for you. On our tours I know I’d enjoy the moment more without the blogging, updating pictures, and social media. I enjoy those, but they add a lot of time pressure and take away from the experience for me. On the other hand, the sharing and storytelling is a central element of the project.

    Balance. As in all things, it’s about balance.


    1. Frank Reed

      Amen, Rich. Just so you know, your social media efforts are being watched and absorbed so at least you can take comfort in the fact that people are experiencing, growing and learning along with you.


  3. Paul Merrill

    I completely agree. Living in the moment is sometimes the only way to really enjoy something.

    But there is also a Scriptural illustration of the need to make memorials: the pile of stones put up for generations to see, after the crossing of the Red Sea.

    And I also agree with Rich – balance.


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