The entire world faded away. I was surrounded by multitudes of students of every color. The only thing in each of our minds was the power of Jesus Christ; the power of our God that is worthy to be praised. This past Sunday, February 12th, was the first ever Gospel Fest at OBU. Gospel Fest was started by the assistant dean of students, Jonathan Solomon.
Many of us know that Gospel means “good news.” The good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, for all sin in past, present, and future for all people. Jesus rose again on the third day, and is coming back again. The good news of the entire Bible, speaking of creation, the fall, redemption, and glorification. The gospel, the good news, is something that we can’t help but sing about and talk about.
Gospel Fest presented a video that explained the origins of gospel music. The origins of gospel music were from slaves learning from the Bible and the preacher of the slaves would relate the Scripture to what they were dealing with in every day life. In many ways, this is what churches do today. The pastor will read us a passage of Scripture and then give us points on how to apply this to our every day life or why it is important.
Gospel music goes even further with this concept and focuses on the root of praise. The fact that praise can cover our pain, our sorrow, and anything we are going through. In the Bible, Paul is arrested and what does he do? He praises the Lord and his chains are broken. This is the most powerful point of gospel music. Despite what we may be going through, despite the odds against us, we have the power to praise God in every circumstance. Praising Him is allowing Him to know that we will not drown ourselves in our sorrow, but praise His name because the name of Jesus is all powerful.
Watching the choirs of Galilee Baptist Church, Union Missionary Baptist Church, St. James Baptist Church, OBU Gospel Choir, and Thaddeus Johnson with the Net Church praise team praise the Lord in Raley Chapel was life changing. There were moments that we all placed ourselves aside and only focused on our One True King. Everyone in the chapel stood together praising Christ despite everything that was happening outside the chapel’s walls, we praised God because of who He is. Standing with my friends, and ultimately my brothers and sisters in Christ, was beautiful.
Thaddeus Johnson and the Net Church praise team gave an alter call for us to come up to the front and praise Jesus. We took those moments to let everything around us fade away and focus on our personal relationship with Christ. In that moment, what kept washing over me, was the fact of God’s unconditional love. God loves me not because of anything I have done, and I have access to talk to the King of Kings. Jesus is my very present help and all I have to do is speak to Him. He knows my name. In the midst of all of the world, He knows me and He knows you.
Gospel Fest was so much more than learning about the origins of gospel music and how gospel music gained its platform. It taught each of us how to praise God. The power behind praising the Lord in every circumstance. It seems easy to go through the motions on a Sunday morning, or in chapel to sing the words of a song. The difference with gospel music is singing because of all God has done, is doing, and will do; praising God because He broke the chains of sin, and set each of us free; praising the Lord because He woke us up this morning, He gave us a new day, and He loves us. All of these things are more than enough to bring God glory, but often times I know I forget that. I loved that OBU brought these amazing choirs in to remind us of the origins of praise. Not to sing words and give a show, but to praise Him. Truly praise Him because the power behind our praise is Jesus Christ, and He is worthy to be praised.