It's your Father's good pleasure...

Rebecca St. James and Emily

I tell it often, this story. Here, at retreats, in small groups and bible studies. Forgive me if you've heard it before. It's quite possible that I'm the one who needs to hear it again - this day after Easter when it was our Father's good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.  

Several years ago, Emily and I interviewed Rebecca St. James for publication.  It was a unique and perfectly delightful experience. Rebecca's publicist provided books and posters and music, well in advance of the interview, and though we were familiar with Rebecca and her music, we did our research anyway - preparing ourselves to ask intelligent and relevant questions. 

Our previous interviews with recording artists had been face to face - in the excitement and energy of a concert venue, but rather than fitting an interview into an already hectic performance night schedule, Rebecca conducted interviews by phone on a day she was traveling between concerts.

Waiting at home for her call was a little nerve-wracking, but Rebecca quickly put us at ease with comfortable and unhurried introductions. She patiently waited while we double checked our recording devices, prayed for all three of us before we began, and gave us her brother Joel's phone number so we could call him for concert passes to meet her and her family and take photos for the magazine.

Hours before the concert, Joel met us at the back door with our "all access" passes. He assumed we knew what we were doing and quickly excused himself to continue setting up the stage. We wanted to look and act professional, but we were "all-access" novices without a clue what we should do. We talked to people from the local Christian radio station we knew,  watched the crews set up the stage and listened to sound-checks. 

After a while, we joined the bands for supper and pre-concert devotions led by Rebecca’s dad. We mingled during the meet and greet that followed, where I was thrilled to meet Evie Tornquist, one of Rebecca's mentors in the recording arts industry. 

Our tickets were for seats close to the stage, but a stage extension had eliminated several rows of seats, and by the time we left the pre-concert meet and greet, the only place left close enough to take photos was on the floor in front of the stage. It was one of the longest and most painful concerts my fifty-something body has ever endured.

Several days later, we realized our failure to understand and appreciate the access we’d been given. A friend who had worked the concert asked how we enjoyed the experience. When I told her how hard it was to sit for hours on the floor in front of the stage, she asked, “Why didn’t you go backstage to take photos?” 

We could do that?” I asked.

You could go anywhere you wanted to with those all-access passes."

All-access meant just that. With the exception of the stage during the performances and the private dressing rooms, we'd been given permission to go anywhere we wanted to at any time.
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
~ Matthew 27.50-51
At the moment of Christ's death on the cross, the curtain in the temple that had separated God’s people from His presence was torn from top to bottom, and an “all-access” pass to a relationship with the Father was written with the blood of Christ and offered to each of us. 

Our "all access" passes to Rebecca's concert were inexpensive laminated cardstock clipped to a lanyard. When the evening with Rebecca was over, we returned them to Joel, and our access to Rebecca and the Smallbone family came to an end. The opportunity for interviews and photos was over. By the end of Rebecca's concert tour, those passes were useless.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
~ Ephesians 2.13
But because of Christ Jesus, our "all access" pass to the Father is priceless - bought with the blood of Christ, it has been sealed by the Holy Spirit for all eternity without expiration. Our opportunity to an intimate relationship with the Father will never come to an end 



Photos: Rebecca St.James and Emily at an event in Tampa, Emily with her all-access pass the night of the concert, and "all-access" passes I made for those who attended a retreat where I told this story a few years ago.