By Tommy Rush

A few weeks ago, I walked out of Walmart and was surprised to hear live music. A very talented man was playing a trombone on the opposite side of the parking lot. Maybe you heard him as well. It was nice to hear the beautiful sound resonating across the entire parking lot. The sound was so good that I stood by my truck and listened for several minutes. As I listened, I noticed that a lot of other people had the same reaction. People were standing beside their vehicles listening to the gentleman playing his trombone.

Maybe we were all surprised by the sound of music or just the unusual scenario. It’s not everyday that you get serenaded in the Walmart parking lot. But I don’t really think that was the cause for my reaction or the reaction of the others. I believe live music just has a way of capturing our attention and producing joy inside of us. There’s something about live music that Apple Music, Spotify and iTunes just can’t replicate. No one walked out of Walmart that day and heard the sound of the man playing his trombone without smiling.

The more I have thought about the “live experience,” the more I was reminded of our need for “live relationships.” We were created for a relationship with God and with one another. Experiences that are live and in person do something that a screen or listening device can’t do. My daughter, who is a mother of four, recently shared with me that a newborn baby can only focus on objects 8-12 inches away from them. This is why when holding a baby, the child seems to fixate on your face. God created them with the ability to only see the distance from their little face to yours. Is there anything better than watching a newborn baby staring into the face of their mother while being cradled in her arms? Make no mistake about it; we are made for relationships!

Last March when everything shut down, we all learned this first hand. Our church services went live streamed, our meetings went to Zoom, our schools went digital. Overnight we went from communities gathering together, to people living isolated behind screens. It’s hard not to be grateful for the many advancements in technology. So many things in life are easier because of it. However, we miss so much when we miss making live connections. We were made to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Singing together, worshipping together and sharing in a good time of conversation around a table provides so much more than a Face Time conversation ever will. I guess I’m just old fashioned, but I’m convinced we were made by God for “live” connections!

I’ve listened to a lot of music through earbuds connected to my phone, but I’ll not soon forget the live music that captured my attention in the Walmart parking lot last week. Nor will I forget the many smiling faces of all the people who enjoyed listening to the music with me.

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