Reflect the glory of God — This was the message that Michael Whitaker Smith had for fans who attended his concert in Cape Town last night, Thursday, 28 May 2015.
There was a thick air of anticipation before the band hit their first note. The start of the concert had to be delayed for about 20 minutes to allow the crowd to get through the controlled security check points at the main entrance to Grand West, as well as the arena. Eventually, when the sweet sounds of the musical chords of Agnus Dei filled the auditorium, a journey of pure worship pleasure began with Michael not leaving the stage until it ended almost two hours later. The first song he chose to sing was, “Come to the Cross” from his 2006 album, Stand, followed by songs from his other albums, of which there has been a total of about 27.
He shared that “Miracle”, which is included on his new album, Sovereign, released in May 2014, was about his testimony. The opening lyrics give some insight into the person he was before coming into a relationship with Jesus, as Lord and Saviour. It says, “A rebel heart, A restless soul, I lost my sight, I lost control, A cry for hope, Could I be saved, You found a way, Your miracle is burning bright in me…” He also chose, “This is Your Time”, which was inspired by Cassie Bernall, one of the victims of the 1999 Columbine school shooting, who was shot in the head for answering “yes” to the shooter’s question, “Do you believe in God?”
For Michael, his music is clearly an art but as an artist, he appears to have hit a fine balance between performance and worship, leading his audience into the throne room of grace and worship. The concert was a personification of excellence. At one point, as he sang, “When the music fades and all is stripped away and I simply come longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless Your heart. I’ll bring You more than a song for a song in itself is not what You have required. You search much deeper within through the way things appear, You’re looking into my heart. I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus…” there seemed to be just the man, his keyboard, and the presence of God smiling down on him.
Our identity in Christ
He told his audience that one turning point that radically changed his approach to worship was when he distinctly heard God saying, “Michael, I not only love you, I am fond of you and want to be your papa, your daddy.” He said he believes that we can never come into the fullness of our potential until we sort out our identity in Christ. We need to know Who lives inside of us. He used his parents as a natural example saying that they have, literally, given themselves away because they know who they are in Christ, children of God, here to reflect His glory, Who He is, adding that his dad, who is currently living with dementia, gave him a picture of the heart of God. His encouragement was, “Stop the gossip. There is no Plan B. We are it. God is on the move.” And his parting words, as always, a blessing: “May He bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace… and FAVOUR!”