God is still at work | The event transcended our planet both spiritually and physically when Giglio placed a call to the International Space Station to speak with ISS Commander Shane Kimbrough, who offered encouraging words from a most surreal setting. Then, Francis Chan said, with appropriate incredulity, “We just talked to an astronaut!” His next reminder reset the room. “And now we get to speak to the one who made the astronaut and keeps him alive and keeps us alive.”

It was a remarkable gift to hear the softly spoken prayers of thousands upon thousands, all in one place, all at the same time. It was more remarkable to know that, though to my human ears they were a cacophony—a sweet cacophony—God heard and understood every word, and in so doing He united a disparate group under one great banner. To hear those same voices unite in song was a balm to a troubled world in the name of Jesus.

Which leads us to the main “one thing” that’s remained consistent. Louie Giglio proclaimed it that very first night. “The one thing that’s stayed the same over the 20 years—other than John Piper’s sport coat—is the heart of Passion. The one anchor in God’s word that is the root of all this is Isaiah 26:8. In time and eternity there is nothing that comes close to Him.”

Matt Redman, Passion, CCM Magazine - image

Matt Redman at Passion ’17, photo: Phil Sanders

Giglio and his team were clearly cognizant of the significance of the anniversary. Alumni were invited to attend. Charles Stanley, who was Giglio’s pastor when he was a college student, brought the opening prayer. Everyone twenty years of age or younger was invited to stand, and they were told “In 1997, when this movement started, you weren’t even born yet.” Chris Tomlin recalled the movement’s origins and seemed almost tentative when introducing a song, certain that the vast majority of the room wouldn’t know it. “It was at that very first Passion when I heard this song. I didn’t know music could sound like that.” I recognized it right away, but I’ll never hear it the same again. It was a new song back then by Deliriou5?—“Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?”—and the chorus became as much an anthem in the Georgia Dome in 2017 as it was in the Austin Convention Center in 1997: Open up the doors and let the music play / Let the streets resound with singing / Songs that bring Your hope and / Songs that bring Your joy / Dancers who dance upon injustice.

In that same closing session, Giglio got nostalgic. “We couldn’t have seen the potential in this stadium, right now, to fulfill all the dreams we had twenty years ago. Our hope is that arrows are going to be shot out of this place to land on every inch of this planet for the sake of Jesus.” I looked around the room. Music played. Heads bowed. Arms raised, holy hands lifted to heaven, straight as arrows.

Passion, CCM Magazine - image

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One Response

  1. Janice Cardona

    I’m not understanding this? Carrie Underwood singing with Crowder at Passion? Well, it just confirms that alot of these concerts are about the money and entertainment more than about worship. I am not judging! Get your facts straight from the Bible to understand the real meaning of judging.

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