Kanye West and Coachella for Easter?April 9, 2019
If you wanted to reach the lost for Christ, where would you go this Easter Sunday?
Why not Coachella?
That’s where Kanye West is headed with his Gospel themed “Sunday Service.”
While no one seems to know exactly what the Chicago based rapper has planned, according to RNS, “West’s Sunday Services have been highly exclusive events that require invitees to sign non-disclosure agreements.” And to get into Coachella a ticket will run over $300 and parking will set you back another $100 and camping another $100. So this isn’t an Easter Sunday Service exactly open to everyone.
Will Kanye preach? That depends on what you think constitutes a sermon. According to his wife, Kardashian West in an interview with Elle, “there’s a Christian vibe. But there’s no preaching.” There’s also no spoken corporate prayer, just music. “Just music?” the Enlightenment mind protests! But music is a powerful vehicle of communication, particularly when seeking to reach those on the periphery of institutional Christianity.
Here’s the challenge I see for Kanye for an Easter service with no preaching and no prayer at Coachella: how do you tell the story of Easter without the Cross and how do you tell the story of the Cross without a sacrifice for sin and how do you talk about sin at Coachella when your wife has “encouraged all faiths to participate” with the assurance that “Everyone that comes understands it’s just a really healing experience”? How do you survey the wondrous cross or watch the Lamb without some connection to the historical events of Jesus’ life, death and, on Easter, bodily resurrection?
No one can deny there is great opportunity at an event like Coachella to present the reality shaking, history changing, life transforming power of resurrection of Easter. But is Kanye West the guy to do that – through music – without what we have come to think of as preaching? Well, I am reminded that just last December, Kanye credited Chance the Rapper for helping him reconnect with his faith in Jesus Christ. So, for those praying for a revival to begin, might it be Kanye West on Easter at Coachella?
I remember a conversation with a friend who does ministry with people living on the streets and as we walked I noticed we would lift his hand slightly as we passed by people sleeping under cardboard boxes and almost imperceptibly as we passed by others huddled in alleys. When we got to the corner I asked him about what I thought I had seen. He smiled, blushing slightly, and admitted he was praising for God for them. Confused, I furrowed my brow and he said, “I live with a confidence that one day God is going to redeem one of those people in such a way that they their transformed life will shine as a testimony to God’s power to bring life from what looks like death. As I pass them now I lift up silent prayers, I know them all by name and I speak their names before the Father asking for Him to give me a sense of who it is that will be the next Billy Graham but today languishes in addiction or brokenness.” My friend – who is a seminary educated white guy – added, “of this I’m pretty certain, it’s not going to be a seminary educated white guy. That’s just not the voice to whom the world’s ear is now tuned.”
Enter Kanye West – a man to whose voice the world’s ear is tuned and, according to Chance the Rapper, a man whose heart is tuned to God. I’m praying that his Sunday Service at Coachella is a breakout event like the world has not often seen. The fuel of revival in the hearts and lives of a generation not likely going to church on Easter unless church shows up at Coachella.