The disco balls hanging from the ceiling reflect dim light onto the water and the crowd shifts as we stand and stretch up from our bar stools and couches for a better view. The band starts with an acoustic strum and an invitation from the stage into “new life” – and we watch as smiling people kneel in a tiny pool and are asked a serious, life-changing question: do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and your savior?
We see the steadfastness in their eyes. These are the discounted, a group of MySpacers, college kids and wait staff, members of a lost generation who’ve been romanced by a love that their peers find laughable. They are standing up, so to speak, courageously announcing their change of heart in a dim bar on a Sunday night, going into a few feet of water as a nervous new believer and coming up to the cheers, music and applause of their new-found family.
We can’t wipe the grins off our faces as they come up and are wrapped in warm towels and big hugs. We are singing, clapping, dancing – celebrating a life rescued and a Love found. This is RockHarbor at the Shark Club – where God is found in the unconventional and Church is not a place but a relationship.
Despite the fact that we don’t know their names, we have a community in this rag-tag bunch of believers. It’s not fake or imposed – I don’t have delusions of best-friend-ship with the couple sitting beside us with whom we shared pleasantries – but I got an authentic glimpse at a Love that transcends age and culture and music tastes. A Love that supports even those we don’t know because of the divine romance we find ourselves in.
This Love changes lives. I hear a lot about how scared we should be, how bad everything is, and how the world is going to hell. Maybe so, but I have a feeling that we’re not done here yet. This Love is strong enough even for this generation, and I got to see it first-hand.