Well, it’s been a crazy weekend. For those of you who don’t know, Bonnaroo Music Festival (which is sometimes referred to as the modern day Woodstock) just so happens to be held in the town I live in right now in Tennessee. I have gone the past two years and got the opportunity to go again this year. And considering the great lineup of bands and the fact that two of my best friends were able to drive up for the festival, I was super excited about getting to go.
I had a great time. But, there was no shortage of exhaustion associated with the weekend. The festival is held in a huge field that used to be a large farm. The lineup includes an awesome variety of musical artists and comedians, and the grounds are full of vendors (selling anything from jewelry made from recycled guitar strings to rope sandals to beautiful art). This year my favorite shows were Bon Iver – check out their music if you haven’t yet – and Foster the People. Coming behind in a strong third place position was Skrillex, a dubstep artist. There were several other shows I enjoyed but those were my favorite.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding Bonnaroo, and there are good reasons for both sides of the arguments. On one hand, there are lots of drugs and alcohol at the festival that people bring in, and it makes for a loud, crazy weekend that disturbs many residents of Manchester. And while I don’t necessary approve of those parts of Bonnaroo, there is something beautiful about it.
Being around 80,000+ people for several days gives you a good picture of humanity. And I realized something this year that I hadn’t really thought of before. Anyone can judge Bonnaroo attendees and say they’re just a bunch of potheads or whatever looking to party. But what those people who will judge don’t realize is that everyone at Bonnaroo is so nice! There is very low crime at the festival and I have seen many examples of complete strangers looking out for each other. They are music lovers and lovers of all things beautiful. They are regular people who are hungry. They are hungry for truth (which is part of the reason they love music – the lyrics speak to them). They are hungry for community with others. They are hungry for love and for peace.
The only problem with most of these people is that they haven’t found anything yet to satisfy them. They go through life bouncing from one thing to another looking for contentment and satisfaction. Maybe they’re trying drugs, alcohol, sex, or even religion to satisfy that hunger they have. But what I realized this weekend is that what people in general are really hungering for is Jesus. They can find all the things they need and want in him! I am DEFINITELY not saying that no one at Bonnaroo knows Jesus or has a relationship with him. Bonnaroo is just an example/the place where I came to my realization. But what I am saying is that I don’t think as humans we would look to drugs or alcohol or whatever to satisfy that next craving of “hunger” if we truly knew Jesus the way he wants us to know him. And while it’s sad to see so many people in the world lost and confused and turning to things other than Jesus to satisfy them, it gives me a sense of direction and purpose. It makes it easier for me to know how to live my own life – in pursuit of a healthy relationship with Jesus AND encouraging others to pursue the same.
My prayer is that when we see people struggling we will not judge them but will see them as a beautiful child of God who is searching. Searching for the one who can truly satisfy our hunger. The one who can bring us truth, love, peace, and much more.
We are all lost in some way. And we are all searching at times. Let’s walk this journey together and encourage each other in pursuit of Jesus.