TRAVEL HERE: A PEP RALLY FOR PATRIOTS
Sorry! I have to interrupt this little discussion about meal kit services to talk about a couple of things I like better than food – God and America. My Liberal friends aren’t required to read this. It’s meant to be a group hug for my Conservative friends. Sean Hannity visited First Baptist Dallas yesterday. I had waffled back and forth between going and not going. I don’t listen to him often enough to be qualified as a fan, but I have been listening to him for several years now. At the last minute I decided to take the trek downtown.
The Pre-Service Experience
I usually spend my Sundays at Rockwall Bible Church. We have about 35-40 families in our membership – a far cry from First Baptist Dallas. For this adventure I found FBD’s guest parking garage on their website and let Google Local give me driving directions. Once I exited off 75, the number of cars headed my way was huge, but everybody was polite. Even though I ended up in the wrong lane a couple of times, I was always allowed back into the herd with relative ease. I just didn’t know if this was the usual Sunday morning crowd or whether there were this many other folks who wanted to come see Hannity.
Google Local got me right to the parking garage and I was directed up to the 7th floor of the garage to park. I decided not to wait on an elevator and hit the stairs. Along with other invigorating things about this event, I managed to get in a lot of walking. I found out the church takes up six city blocks!
Once inside FBD, I found out Hannity devotees had turned out in droves and later a parking attendant told me they’d arranged for parking in three extra garages. This wasn’t Sunday as usual. The nice greeter who walked me across the foyer and got me going in the right direction assured me this was a much larger crowd than a usual Sunday. She told me greeters usually escorted guests all the way to the sanctuary, but they changed protocol for this special event. She seemed disappointed she wasn’t going to have the opportunity to do that and maybe she was. Imagine how impressed I was when she saw me on my way out and remembered my name! I was blown away because remembering names is definitely not my spiritual gift 😉
The journey to my pew was something of it’s own adventure. This place is HUGE and it was wall-to-wall people. The main floor was packed to capacity, so I had to go to the balcony, which was also filled by the start of the service. The later morning service was supposed to be even more packed, so I don’t know where they put everyone.
Let Us Sing!
While I don’t usually worship at a mega-church, I’ve been in several. Let me tell you, there are mega-churches and then there is First Baptist Dallas. It was so overwhelming I couldn’t even sing the first couple of verses during the opening of the service. Tears kept filling my eyes and I had a frog in my throat.
Instead of the cold, canned feeling I’ve gotten from visiting other mega-churches, FBD managed to transport me to another level. I thought to myself, “This is a small picture of what it will be like to worship in heaven. The choir will be in the millions instead of the hundreds, there won’t be walls and we won’t need the sound equipment, but it’s going to feel just the way this does.”
My imagination went down a rabbit trail thinking about heaven. I imagined the angels in heaven singing a song I’d written the lyrics for. With an eternity of worship to fill, they’ll have time for all of us to fulfill our hearts’ desires. A change of songs brought me back to the present and soon Sean Hannity was on stage with Dr. Jeffers. Hannity got two standing ovations before he ever said a word. The audience was charged up.
A Simple Story of Faith and an Invitation.
The audience might have been charged up, but Hannity was just himself. Dr. Jeffers asked him to share his personal testimony and Hannity told us his unremarkable story that made all the difference in his life. I’m sure you can get a recording of it from FBD, but for such a celebrity to have such a humble vision of themselves was refreshing.
Dr. Jeffers’ follow-up question was about the movie Hannity had come to promote, Let There Be Light. Again, humility. There was a natural pride showing from being part of a good thing, but no superlatives. He invited us to see it when it comes out on Friday and suggested bringing unbelievers to be a part of the experience. I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t that. My admiration for him doubled and I will see the movie.
America at the Crossroads
Then Dr. Jeffers took over and presented a sermon on his new book America at the Crossroads. The skeptics out there are thinking, “Aha, I bet they were selling copies in the lobby.” You’d be wrong about that. They were giving them away.
Many Liberals think Conservatives are against everything, but this was a celebration. Dr. Jeffers is concerned about our nation, but his solutions are all about embracing life, family and faith. The sanctuary was filled with hope and hope is one of my favorite things. It was also about love.
Perhaps one of the most important things he said was that we don’t get to heaven in a group. The only way to get there is one by one. And we don’t win people to the Lord in crowds. We reach them one at a time, one person to another. That gave me hope. I’m not a Sean Hannity. I have an audience, but it is small – minuscule in the full scope of things. I have fun sharing my travels and talking about food, but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to share hope and if I do that from time to time, then I’m fulfilling my role in the big scheme of things.
On Wednesday we’ll be back in Egypt, doing a little belly dancing and Friday we’ll talk about staging for your home’s photo shoot. So my visit to see Sean Hannity did not turn me into a flaming Conservative that can’t talk about anything but politics. I’m still just me.