Sunday, August 24, 2003

A Man of God Has Captured My Heart

Last night I worshipped God . I stood,danced, and praised Him for His victory over sickness and temptation. I raised my hands in thanksgiving for the gift of family and the gift ofmusic. I reached the heights of worship and praise during the 20th anniversary concert of Gary Valenciano at the Music Museum.

Movie trailers and reviews say that you should watch a certainhighly-recommended movie "if you're going to watch one movie this year". Well, for me "if you're going to watch one concert this year", I highlysuggest that you catch the remaining shows of this Gary V. Hits @ theMusic Museum series. Whether or not you get the chance to watch thisconcert I'm raving about, I'm going to proceed to tell you about itanyway. I cannot help it, after reading the Psalm for today:

PSALM 128:1b-2, 3, 4, 5

R. "See how the Lord blesses those who fear him. Blessed are you who fearthe Lord, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of yourhandiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored. R. You wife shall be like afruitful vine in the recesses of your home; Your children like oliveplants around your table. R. Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears theLord. R. The Lord bless you from Zion: may you see the prosperity ofJerusalem all the days of your life. R."

Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. There is no doubt in my heartthat Gary V. is our brother who lives in "holy fear" of the Lord. Musicaltalents grow on trees here in the Philippines. Even in our own branch herein Lingkod QC we are so used to beautiful voices in harmony and musicianswho provide us rhythm to groove to. What sets Gary V. apart from the restof the Filipino artists, however, is the way he performs, for he is likean arrow pointing to God and witnessing to His faithfulness. When Gary V.sings, dances, plays instruments, and gives his spiels, he does not say"Hey, look at me. I'm a handsome man swathed in Swarovski crystals who isimpressing you with MY talents." So Gary V.'s designer chose to dot hisall-black number with some glittering crystals, but those little starsthat shone in his outfit sparkled not to dazzle the audience with theartist's pride, but served to shine like the the flashes of light thatfollow a holy man.

I have grown up to his music, I must confess, but I chose to write abouthis concert not just as a fan temporarily in-love with him. I want tohonor him for I believe that what he strives to stand for is not easy. Inan industry corrupted by pride and ambition, Gary V. has, for the past 20years, managed to witness to his audience about God's work in his life. I've seen Gary V. perform in benefit concerts with as much gusto as if hewere being paid in hundreds of thousands to sing "The Warrior is a Child".Last night, he gave a moving tribute to his mother, that moved me tobecome a mother (hey with a son like that a mother's heart can't help butburst, I reckon... I want that...). He and his band sang a version of"Letting Go" that left the audience slack-jawed in disbelief. He saidthat the words of that song were his message to his fellow performers,that beyond the lights and the fame there is Someone Bigger. He jumpedand danced with his son Gabriel, candidly admitting that he could nolonger keep up with his son's energy level. He downed two bottles ofmineral water consecutively after Gabriel left the stage (Tiguls na siGary V!).

There was some dancing but not to the level of Gary's previous concerts atbigger venues, yet the audience could not help leaping to their feet. Some even shed tears of joy as God spoke to them through the music. Earlyduring the show Gary said that he has only lasted this long and reachedthis level of success because Someone promised him that if he put Himfirst in his life, He would always be there. That was his introduction tothe song "I Will be Here". He shared that juvenile diabetes usuallyblinds the patient after five years, but he has lived through 25 years ofthe ailment and his doctors are amazed how clear his vision remains. Garygrabbed every opportunity to thank and praise God and it did not soundlike a script he has to do two nights a week for five weeks. He did itlike a prayer meeting leader exhorting his community to worship.

Andworship we did!

There were hilarious moments in the show, too. Gary V. showed hischildlike side when he played the audience for a full 20 minutes with,well something I cannot share without spoiling the fun for some of you whoplan to see the show. Suffice to say that we were in stitches watchingGary's antics and reacting to his spontaneous remarks.

Some people are given gifts and they hide it out of fear. Some people aregiven gifts and claim all the glory. To see our very own "TotalPerformer" sharing God's love number after spectacular number has left mejoyful and hopeful. Gary V. shows us that as warriors, children, artists,fathers, mothers, wives, in whatever roles we play, we could use these asour way of glorifying God, and God would bless us indeed. Gary V. standsout as a man of God in these times, when the question often arises whethergood men still follow the Lord, and whether they succeed at it.

Will this message reach him? I hope he already knows that his dream hasbeen fulfilled, his dream of touching hearts and not just ears. I praiseand thank God for my brother Gary Valenciano.


After the show the brothers and sisters and I were telling each other thatthe concert was just like attending a prayer meeting! Someone commented,though, that prayer meetings don't cost P600. :) We were at thebleachers of that small, intimate venue, but every peso was worth it. Itfelt like being front seat in a foretaste of heavenly worship. I may beexaggerating, but that is always a writer's prerogative. And a fan's. :)

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