“I had hit rock bottom, but Jesus wasn’t done with me yet.”
Erich Clark, our guest blogger this week, attends First Presbyterian Church in Ipswich and was on the logistics team to help set up the stage for our worship night in August. Erich writes about the significance of the worship night in his own spiritual journey of faith, and the power of God to transform hearts and lives, both personally and corporately.
I was the Assistant Sound Tech for the UniteBoston Worship Night on the Boston Common. During sound check and rehearsal with the Worship Team, I felt my past and present collide. To understand that, I need to tell you my story.
I’ve set up a lot of stages for a lot of bands.
I get there early, go over the plan, run the cables, note the channel numbers, wait for the musicians to arrive, sound-check, and start the show.
The last time I sound-checked in Boston, my life was collapsing. I worked for a heavy metal band from Rhode Island, and we had finally made it to Massachusetts. It was an important opportunity, but by the time the musicians were plugged in and ready, I was so drunk and stoned that the club’s in-house sound guy had to take over completely.
That was my pattern: set up, sneak off for some drugs, come back and drink until the night became a blur. The band had kept me on until that point only because I promised them that I would stay sober until after each gig. But I was out of control, and that was my last gig with them. At the end of the night, they told me never to contact them again.
I drove home drunk that night to an apartment where I was soon to be evicted. I’d spent all the money I earned (and a large sum I had borrowed) on my chemicals. I was soon to be fired another countless time. Then my car died, abandoned and spewing thick black smoke on the highway during a drug run. It was all over; my life was a write off, the end of the line, my rock bottom.
But Jesus wasn’t done with me yet. I checked into a Christian sober house, Place of Promise, because it was the only one that would take me. That’s where I gave my life to Jesus, for whatever limited use He could get out of me. It was the only thing I had left.
When I graduated from Place of Promise, I found a work-for-rent-position at First Presbyterian Church in Ipswich. They knew about my past, but they accepted me with open arms. They have become my family, supporting me in a myriad of ways as my life has healed.
I started running sound for the church, grateful to use my skills in a positive way. I’ve worked with the Middle School youth group for the last decade and passed on my sound skills to several young people.
One of my trainees was Benjamin Hills, a pastor’s son I’d met when he was 8. He’s a young man now, attending Gordon College, and the Head Sound Technician for the recent UniteBoston worship night on the Boston Common. Ben invited me on as his assistant, and I was intrigued by the prospect.
On August 26th I found myself setting up a stage right in the center of Boston. I was checking connections and helping the UniteBoston worship team to arrange themselves and set levels. I was appreciating the quality band, the professional stage, the beautiful weather, the picturesque Boston Common. As I looked around at those musicians and volunteers and technicians lending their skills to the concert, it struck me:
This is God’s concert. He’s playing right in the heart of our capital city, shouting out Grace, love, hope, and healing. The God I serve took this useless shell of a man and made him whole, happy, and useful. If He can heal me, I know that He can heal the children of this wounded city.
Let’s turn His mic up.