Yup, I was one fish in the sea of 40,000, flapping my fins, eager to be entertained by the legendary Beyoncé and Jay-Z at BC Place on Tuesday. I couldn’t escape the schools-of-fish metaphor (or perhaps fish in a barrel?) as the hoards moved through gates and around corridors, and eventually spilling out into the night.
I love powerful female celebrities and, while I cannot always get behind Beyoncé’s lyrics, I have a huge amount of respect for the way she uses her celebrity for good (for instance, try reading this https://www.essence.com/lifestyle/do-good-brothers/10-not-so-publicized-times-jay-z-and-beyonce-gave-back/#144754 or watching this http://www.thefader.com/2018/03/18/beyonce-accept-award-humanitarianism )
The concert was a tapestry of these artists’ work through the last (almost) two decades, woven together with story, video, and play. I was surprised by the tenderness felt between the two (which I had always assumed was publicity but am now questioning my assumption) and the vulnerability they portrayed in sharing some footage and phots of their children.
Nothing surprised me more, though, than the crosses that were everywhere.
What I am Trusting Thinking About
This intersection of pop culture and Jesus is nothing new: the big JC has been thanked from football stadiums and awards shows for years. And yet the prevalence of Christian imagery and Biblical themes throughout the concert really threw me.
Now, if you weren’t a Christian or had no exposure to religion, you would likely miss it. At first passing thought, these things seem contradictory: the opulence of celebrity alongside the message of self-emptying for the sake of love.
This was not unlike juxtaposition in the show of strong feminist messaging with g-string clad booty shaking dancers.
Are these things in opposition to each other?
No – I don’t believe so. Some women are empowered by, express their feminism, through covering up (hijab and bourka included) and others by stripping down (dancers of all varieties included).
What I am Grateful For
Friends. I had the pleasure of taking this trip with a fabulous woman, a spiritual companion, who gifts me with the honour of seeing her vulnerabilities and making safe space for me to express my own vulnerability. She and I gathered for a small dinner alongside others of this caliber who have spoken into my life in profound and powerful ways through the years.
These spiritual friendships are, I think, the key to my sanity in the overall picture of my wholistic health (body, mind, soul). These are the people that tell me the truth when I am veering off course, and help get me back on track. The folks who point out my less-than-favourable qualities so that I can get to work on them, but also celebrate my more helpful bits.
What Inspires Me
The ones who don’t give up. You see them…if you have eyes to see. They are the people who work in jobs in service to others who get knocked down over and over again. And they get back up, and keep serving, keep showing up, keep loving people – most of whom are unable to love themselves – without very much reward or recognition.
They are the volunteers who show up in the rain. In the cold. In the good and bad times. The ones who get name called, bullied, harassed, spat at, cut down, threatened and worse, and they keep on suiting up and showing up, doing their best to live a life of love and service to others.
On the hardest of my days, the days when I am privileged to walk with others so deep into their darkness that I can almost forget the ubiquitous, permeating, relentlessness of the light and love of God, on those days, I look with eyes to see the others who don’t give up.
How I am Practicing My Faith
I suppose along the same lines as above, it has to do with noticing. Wearing my God goggles to see, in the rain soaked folks who have spent the night on the street, lined up for morning coffee at the church and in the perfect, polished, sparkling diva with a voice that elicits tears and goosebumps, children of God.