Like every teenager in America, I had my own American Idols. I was a new Christian but was deeply anchored into the world. I loved music. It was my sanctuary. When turmoil ruled the house, it was my escape. With each paycheck, I would buy more records and drown myself in music. I loved music. I knew the top 40 by heart, and memorized every rock station’s playlist. And of all the artists, I idolized the English rock band, Led Zeppelin. I just could not get enough of their music. They were my “Idols.”
My favorite year was 1977. I was 17. It was the year that Prom was going to be held at the newest high rise hotel in Indianapolis. It was the year that our Cross Country team won the State Championship, our Swing Choir won the Midwest Swing Choir Competition, (“Glee!”) our Football and Tennis teams won their Olympic Conference Championships, and with 4 seconds on the clock, our Boys Basketball team won the Indiana State Championship in Indianapolis. (Great game!) But the most wonderful event of the year was the Led Zeppelin North American Concert Tour coming to my town!
My favorite band hadn’t done a tour since 1975 so this was the monumental event of the year, and I was not going to miss it. I was working the day the tickets were to be released to the public, and my store was only 50 feet away from Ticketmaster. In those days, you had to stand in line, in person and it was first come, first served. This was a sacred”event and I had to pay homage to my favorite band. I timed my break ½ hour before the ticket selling time but was already behind 25 people when I got there. It seemed like an eternity waiting in line, but I finally got my set of the “golden” tickets. I was told this event became a sold out concert in record time, about 45 minutes. (If we had computers back then, it would have been sold out in 45 seconds.) This was one of the hottest bands of the decade.
On the day of the concert, my boyfriend, and I arrived at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis at 1:00 pm where there was a small crowd already waiting in front of us. It was “Festival” seating, which meant, no assigned seats and the ones in first, got the coveted stage floor area. At 3:00 pm our friend made a McDonald’s run for sustenance and at 6:00 pm the doors were scheduled to open. The concert did not start until 7:00 pm but people were already restless and anxious. The crowd turned into a collective mob. Trapped, we could feel ourselves being shoved back and forth toward the doors by the unruly mob trying to force their way in.
When the doors finally broke open, we were carried in by the noisy crowd that surrounded us. My boyfriend quickly took off his glasses and told me to close my eyes, cover my face and hold my breath. The security guards were spraying the crowd with tear gas to push everyone back for they were out of control. I held on tight to my boyfriend burying my face in his jacket, but my eyes were still stinging. We held onto each other tightly as people around us howled and screamed as we were shoved backwards with the crowd. “What did I get myself into?” I wondered. Was this going to be worth it? People were coughing and crying while security shouted how it was going to be. No one was getting into the arena before 6:00 pm. Security guards controlled the crowd behind us while the people around us became sullen and quiet rubbing their eyes, still recovering from the blast of discipline we received earlier.
Finally, the doors flung open and it was a race to the bottom floor. As we ran into the arena, hundreds of people from all directions were flooding the stairs in every section, fighting their way to dominate space on the floor. It was a battleground. We couldn’t get stage front, but we had an excellent view. When we caught our breath, I looked around in awe that over eighteen thousand people jammed into this sold out arena. The stadium lights went down, the stage lights came up, our idols took over the stage, the concert started and the crowd went wild.
We stood for over 2 hours and 45 minutes bouncing to Robert Plant “screaming” his heart out, and were amazed by John Bonham’s thundering drums and moving stage. John Paul Jones thrilled us with his high frequency keyboard light show and we marveled at the amazing rotating laser light pyramid that imprisoned Jimmy Page moving to each note he commanded on his electric guitar. We were blown away by every incredible song, powerfully executed by the band of the century. Their memorable concert ended with their signature song, “Highway to Heaven” that brought the house down, with an extended encore performance featuring another lengthy song ending the concert.
Wow, what an experience! I returned home exhausted. I just spent all day waiting in line, blasted with tear gas, standing several hours on achy feet surrounded by sweaty obnoxious strangers, dodging body surfers, firecrackers, liquor bottles, cigarette butts and Frisbees flung by the masses, while worshiping my Idols and having my head subjected to ear-splitting decibels as an added bonus. (Was Sodom and Gomorrah anything like this?) As exhilarating as the night was, I decided I did not want to do anything like that again any time soon.
In church I heard the pastor often talk about idol worship, but I never thought it applied to me in any way. As I became closer to the word, I found that it did apply to me. Instead of having figures of stone or gold to bow down to, I had posters of my favorite idols I “worshipped” plastered all over my bedroom walls and not one picture of Jesus anywhere. I am embarrassed to say, I spent more time that week involved and dedicated to the concert and my idols, than the time I spent with God for the entire month.
Led Zeppelin was my Idol and the stage was the altar. I tolerated a lot just to see them perform. And, what about the eighteen thousand other people that were there? It just goes to show, that idol worship isn’t any more right whether you are doing alone or doing it with a crowd.
The definition of worship is, “Reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage or to any object regarded as sacred.” In other words, it is anything that you place more importance on, or put ahead of God. Even Jesus tells us we can not be His disciples even putting loved ones ahead of Him.
How many people do you know today that put other things ahead of God? It could be a job, money, things, sports teams, bands, loved ones or even your children. If you love these things MORE than God, you are treading in dangerous territory in God’s eyes. He is a jealous God. But if you put God first in your life, you will delight in Him; He will delight in you and shower you with blessings. After all, he is always thinking of you first and He looks after His children. Is He always first in your thoughts, words or deeds?
(Jesus) “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Have A Blessed Day!
Facebook/Celebrate Recovery InSW Florida